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Islamic World News ( 25 May 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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'Saffron Entrap For Muslim Women': Pamphlets In Indore Claim Hindu Outfits Trying To Convert Muslim Women Into Kafirs

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 May 2023

 

Image for representational purposes only. (File Photo)

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India

Hindu Son, Muslim Daughter Argue Over Mother’s Funeral In Hyderabad, Police Settle Matter

Karnataka Congress Govt May Withdraw Circular Banning Hijab, Warns Of RSS Ban

Aurangzeb Wasn't Cruel, Didn't Order Demolition Of Temple: Muslim Side's Plea In Gyanvapi Dispute

Emirates Red Crescent: Mosque And Well To Be Built In India In Memory Of Six Killed In Abu Dhabi Fire

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Europe

Paris To Mecca: A Cyclist Raising Awareness On Climate Crisis Among Muslims

Dozens of mosques attacked in Germany in 2022

Watershed Muslim political moment in Birmingham commuter town

We want to kill Putin – Ukrainian deputy intelligence chief

Russia’s top spy tells US and UK to ‘go to hell’

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Pakistan

PFF and MCB Islamic Bank collaborate to simplify club account opening process

Nation Pays Rich Tribute To Martyrs On ‘Youm-e-Takreem Shuhada-e-Pakistan’

Imran and key aides ‘planned’ May 9 riots, geo-fencing reveals

No mercy for May 9 rioters, PM tells martyrs’ families

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North America

St. Paul mosque arsonist also burglarized Lowertown restaurant, new charges say

Said Murekezi, accused in St. Paul mosque fire, charged with breaking windows at restaurant

Rambling call about ‘9/11’ was threat to Charlotte mosque, Islamic Centre leader says

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Mideast

Al-Azhar condemns ‘irresponsible and ignorant’ statements by French official against Sunni Islam

Permanent Committee for Islamic-Christian Dialogue holds first meeting in Bahrain

Al-Sunni discusses political developments in Libya with his British counterpart

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Arab World

Saudi Astronauts, Rayyanah And Ali Al-Qarni, Share With Students Their Experience Staying At The International Space Station

Saudi Arabia to host antimicrobial resistance meeting in 2024, says health minister

AlUla’s Jabal Ikmah receives world recognition, listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register

Saudi Arabia restores diplomatic relations with Canada

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Southeast Asia

Japan Home To A Growing Muslim Presence As It Embraces Change

At Conference Of Ulama, PM Anwar Says Putrajaya's 'Allah' Resolution Based On Consensus

DAP’s Aziz Bari slams Takiyuddin for making him a scapegoat in Jill Ireland’s case

Sultan Ibrahim: Assess carefully implications of decision relating to ‘Allah’ issue

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South Aisa

No Discrimination Allowed in the Islamic System: Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

Bangladesh PMSheikh Hasina Says Next National Polls Will Be Free, Fair Under Her Govt

‘Taliban Have to Earn Legitimacy’ for Intl Recognition: Miller

President, PM pay tributes to poet Nazrul on birth anniversary

EU Delivers 100 Tons Of Medical Supplies To Afghanistan

Afghanistan document shows Biden ‘didn’t heed’ warnings ahead of withdrawal, Rep. McCaul says

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Africa

“I Have Forgiven President Muhammadu Buhari” – Ortom Declares, Urges Others to Do the Same

Presidential inauguration: No cows will  ”loiter” streets of Abuja – Miyetti Allah pledges

Muslim-Muslim Ticket: APC asked to pick Christian Senate president from South

Buhari appointing me, others as minister of state unconstitutional: Keyamo

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/saffron-muslim-women-hindu-kafirs/d/129851

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 'Saffron Entrap For Muslim Women': Pamphlets In Indore Claim Hindu Outfits Trying To Convert Muslim Women Into Kafirs

 

Image for representational purposes only. (File Photo)

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24th May 2023

BHOPAL: A pamphlet titled Khula Khat (open letter) for Muslim women and girls cautioning them about the 'saffron love trap' conspiracy in the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh's Indore has kept the cops on their toes.

The pamphlet mentions the RSS and other right-wing outfits like the Bajrang Dal plotting a conspiracy to convert Muslim women. It further mentions that they have attempted to convert around 10 lakh Muslim women into Kafirs (non-believers of God and tenets of Islam).

It also mentions about conversion of 800 Muslim girls, having been already done in Amravati, a city in Maharashtra.

It further alerts Muslim girls about the social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram being used to lure Muslim girls into friendship traps in schools and colleges.

A copy of the concerned pamphlet was reportedly shared by a Hindu woman with the Indore police on Tuesday night.

“An FIR has subsequently been lodged u/s 153-A IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc) at the Rawji Bazar police station against unidentified persons and investigations are underway,” Indore’s police commissioner Makarand Deouskar told to this newspaper on Wednesday.

According to key Indore police sources, the city police had already been working on specific inputs of such pamphlets being distributed by some youngsters in Muslim-dominated areas of the city.

The pamphlets were circulated mainly at sensitive localities including Khajrana, Chandan Nagar, Rawji Bazar and Bombay Bazar areas.

Inputs of such pamphlets being distributed in Muslim-dominated areas have been emanating for the past few weeks.

Investigators strongly believe that it’s a concerted effort by some organized group to establish the counter-narrative against the right-wing Hindu group’s rising narrative of ‘Love Jihad,’ as the saffron outfits’ narrative has particularly gained momentum following the box office success of the controversial movie, 'The Kerala Story'.

The Adah Sharma-starrer movie, which focuses on the alleged forced religious conversion of women in Kerala before inducting them into the terror outfit ISIS, has been declared tax-free by the BJP government in MP.

Recently, a Hindu woman lodged a complaint at Indore’s Kharjana police station, against her live-in partner Faizan, alleging that she was assaulted brutally by him, after watching 'The Kerala Story' movie.

She also accused her live-in partner of sexually and physically assaulting her and forcing her to convert to Islam.

A case was lodged by Indore police and the accused was subsequently arrested.

Importantly, being the nucleus of the communally sensitive Malwa region of MP, Indore and adjoining areas, have also been vulnerable to activities of banned outfits, including Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Popular Front of India (PFI).

Source: newindianexpress.com

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https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2023/may/24/saffron-entrap-pamphlets-in-indore-claim-hindu-outfits-trying-to-convert-muslim-women-into-kafirs-2578238.html

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Tariq Ramadan Cleared Of Rape And Sexual Coercion By Swiss Court

 

Swiss academic and Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

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24th May 2023

The Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan has been cleared of rape and sexual coercion by a Swiss court.

The case against Mr Ramadan, who is a Swiss citizen, was brought by a Swiss woman who said she had been raped by him in a Geneva hotel in 2008.

A convert to Islam, and a fan of Mr Ramadan’s, the woman told the court that she had been subjected to a brutal sexual assault, beatings and insults.

She said it happened after she was invited by the Oxford academic for a coffee after a conference.

Mr Ramadan, 60, denied all the charges, but admitted inviting her to his hotel room. He said all the accusations against him have been politically-motivated and designed to discredit him because of his effective Islamic advocacy and criticisms of the French state.

His French and Swiss lawyers also questioned the accusers’ truthfulness, citing inconsistencies around the dates of the alleged attacks.

Mr Ramadan’s defence lawyer described the charges against him as “crazy.” In his own remarks to the court, Mr Ramadan asked not to be tried on his “real or supposed ideology.”

The Swiss judges said that it wasn’t up to the court to judge the sexual practises of Mr Ramadan or his morals or ideology but to simply judge the merits of the case.

They found that the accuser’s testimony had contradictions and wasn’t corroborated by any material evidence such as sperm, blood or video. They also considered the considerable “mediatisation” of the case and exchanges between the accuser and people implicated in other French cases which could have influenced her story and witness statements.

They also considered messages she sent to Mr Ramadan after the alleged rape which were messages of love and not messages from someone who felt she had been wronged.

But while he has been cleared in Switzerland, this could be just the first of several trials. In France, prosecutors are still assessing whether further rape charges brought against Mr Ramadan should go to court.

In 2018 Ramadan spent 10 months in a Paris jail without charge. He was subsequently freed but only under strict bail conditions.

In 2020 around 150 international scholars, politicians, social activists and journalists said what was happening to him was a “masquerade of justice” with biased judges ignoring crucial evidence and a judicial process which assumes he is guilty.

Tariq Ramadan is a world renowned academic, writer and public speaker known for his contributions to Islamic studies and contemporary Islamic thought. He is the grandson of Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ramadan has held academic positions at various prestigious institutions, including the University of Geneva, the University of Fribourg and the University of Oxford. His research and teaching have focused on topics such as Islamic law, ethics, the integration of Muslims in Western societies, and the challenges facing contemporary Muslims.

Source: 5pillarsuk.com

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https://5pillarsuk.com/2023/05/24/tariq-ramadan-cleared-of-rape-and-sexual-coercion-by-swiss-court/

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Federal Shariat Court On Transgender Persons: Key Provisions Of The Transgender Persons(Protection Of Rights) Act, 2018, Are Repugnant To Islam

 

An illustration depicts queer people in Malaysia, who face widespread societal pressure to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. © 2020 Row Yow

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Sara Malkani

May 25, 2023

ON May 19, the Federal Shariat Court declared that key provisions of the landmark Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, are repugnant to Islam. The FSC has called for invalidating a law that serves to protect some of the most marginalised persons in our society. Unless the FSC decision is appealed before the Supreme Court, its ruling will become effective in six months.

The FSC finds that the definition of “transgender persons” in the law conflates a range of identities, each of which has distinct physical characteristics and also a distinct status in Islam. Crucially, the FSC has held that Section 3 of the 2018 Act which recognises the right of transgender persons to their self-perceived gender identity is contrary to Islam. The ‘voluntary change of sex’ on the basis of self-perceived gender identity is also against Islam.

The FSC states that the definition of “transgender persons” under the 2018 Act includes intersex, eunuchs and khwaja siras, transgender men and transgender women. Intersex persons are “special” and “deprived”. Eunuchs and khwaja siras, according to the FSC, refer to the same category of persons “with serious and permanent sexual infirmity in their male sexual organs”.

Transgender men and women on the other hand are persons whose self-perceived gender identity differs from the sex assigned to them at birth. The FSC considers the latter un-Islamic because Islam does not recognise any distinction between sex and gender identity.

It is far-fetched to extrapolate that transgender persons as a whole and in all contexts are repugnant to Islam.

At the outset, the FSC’s understanding of these sexual and gender identities is flawed. Contrary to what it says, khwaja siras are persons with distinct gender identities and it must not be assumed that they suffer from infirmities or disabilities. The identification of a person as khwaja sira is based on the self-perceived identity of the individual. There is no physical or medical assessment undertaken by the khwaja sira community when admitting new members. Indeed, there are no set physical or biological characteristics that make a person khwaja sira; rather it is a combination of psychological, physical and cultural factors that shape the identity.

Further, the FSC’s reasoning that any distinction between sex and gender identity is contrary to Islam is based on flawed reasoning. The FSC acknowledges that in “some cultures and societies a person or a human being is defined and identified by his or her ‘gender’ and not by his or her ‘sex’”, but then goes on to assert that “in Islam the defining factor for a human being in this context is ‘sex’ not ‘gender’”.

This conclusion is based on an obvious error of logic. The FSC relies on verses of the Holy Quran which declare that God created men and women. Since no other sex is specified, the FSC concludes that Islam does not recognise any other sex or gender. However, it does not logically follow from the verses acknowledging the creation of men and women that any other sex is repugnant to Islam, and that sex alone is the basis of gender identity. Indeed, none of the Quranic verses or hadith referred to by FSC support its conclusion that recognition of any distinction between sex and gender is contrary to Islamic injunctions.

The error of logic is obvious when we break down the argument as follows: a) The Quran recognises two sexes; b) the Quran does not explicitly recognise any distinction between sex and gender identity; c) Therefore, Islam forbids recognition of any distinction between sex and gender identity.

It is obvious why ‘a’ and ‘b’ does not entail ‘c’. If the Quran is silent on a matter, it does not entail that it finds that matter repugnant.

The FSC also relies on hadith that the Prophet (PBUH) disapproved of “effeminate men”. However, the ahadith cited involve only two incidents — one where the Prophet turned an “effeminate man” away from his house and the other where he banished a man who applied henna. Historians of the early Islamic period conclude that the “effeminate” men or “mukhannath” were common in society and played visible roles. However, there is no evidence to suggest that there was a blanket ban on these persons and these two incidents could well be isolated and context-dependent. It is far-fetched to extrapolate from these ahadith that transgender persons as a whole and in all contexts are repugnant to Islam.

It is similarly far-fetched to extrapolate from these ahadith, as the FSC does, that “in Islam males as well as females are not allowed to act and behave as an opposite sex” to the one assigned to them at birth. The FSC does not consider whether the categories of “effeminate” men or “mukhannath” as used in early Islamic society almost 15 centuries ago are identical to transgender identities as we understand and perceive them today. Today, there is a growing global consensus that gender identity falls on a spectrum, and is based on a range of biological, social and cultural traits.

The range of acceptable gender expression changes significantly over time. Is there any item of clothing, or hairstyle or even gait that can be deemed exclusively for ‘men’ or ‘women’? Who will make this determination? For example, are women with short hair and men with long hair expressing a gender identity contrary to their sex? Under the FSC’s reasoning the range of behaviour deemed repugnant to Islam is not only extremely broad but also impossible to identify.

What is particularly disappointing is that the FSC has ignored the distinct cultural status of the khwaja sira community in the subcontinent prevailing for several centuries. The fact that the FSC deems khwaja sira persons to have a disorder amounts to the stigmatisation and erasure of this community.

It is striking that the FSC has not considered fundamental rights provisions in Pakistan’s Constitution that guarantee life, dignity and equal protection under the laws to all persons. Its ruling could possibly vitiate the hard-won rights of transgender persons who face persecution and marginalisation on a daily basis. Surely the protection of their right to exist as equal citizens cannot be deemed contrary to Islam.

The writer is a lawyer.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1755630

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More than 130 North American Scholars Defend Normative Islamic Position On LGBTQ

 

A baby in a crib at the Child Houses centre in rebel-held Idlib which shelters unaccompanied Syrian children and those of unknown parentage. [Omar Haj Kadour/AFP]

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24th May 2023

More than 130 prominent Muslim scholars from North America have issued a statement defending the Muslim community’s right to maintain the normative Islamic position on LGBTQ without being accused of bigotry or hatred.

The scholars, who include Imam Siraj Wahaj, Imam Suhaib Webb, Shaykh Shadee Elmasry, Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, Imam Omar Suleiman and the Canadian Council of Imams, say that Islamic sexual and gender ethics are at odds with general society’s views, which has caused tension for Muslims between their religious beliefs and societal expectations.

But they say the normative Islamic position on LGBTQ, which is derived from the Quran, is fixed and cannot be changed. “As a religious minority that frequently experiences bigotry and exclusion, we reject the notion that moral disagreement amounts to intolerance or incitement of violence,” their statement reads. “We affirm our right to express our beliefs while simultaneously recognizing our constitutional obligation to exist peacefully with those whose beliefs differ from ours.”

The scholars also reject any attempts to reinterpret or revise religious doctrine to be inclusive of LGBTQ ideology. “The Muslim community is not immune to such pressures,” they say. “Indeed, some have attempted to reinterpret Islamic texts in favor of LGBTQ affirmation. We categorically reject such efforts as theologically indefensible because these aspects of sexual ethics fit within the category of immutable tenets and are therefore not subject to revision.”

But they conclude that they are committed to peaceful co-existence with those who differ in North America.

“Peaceful coexistence does not necessitate agreement, acceptance, affirmation, promotion, or celebration. We refuse the false choice between succumbing to social pressures to adopt views contrary to our beliefs or facing unfounded charges of bigotry. Such coercive ultimatums undermine prospects for harmonious coexistence.”

Public discourse on sexuality over the past few decades has presented challenges to faith communities. Today, Islamic sexual and gender ethics are at odds with certain recently popular societal views, causing tension for Muslims between their religious beliefs and societal expectations. At the same time, public disapproval of LGBTQ practices, beliefs, and advocacy is increasingly met with charges of intolerance and unwarranted accusations of bigotry. More troubling still, there is an increasing push to promote LGBTQ-centric values among children through legislation and regulations, disregarding parental consent and denying both parents and children the opportunity to express conscientious objection. Such policies subvert the agency of Muslim parents to teach their children their religiously grounded sexual ethics, violate their constitutional right to freely practice their religion, and contribute to an atmosphere of intolerance toward faith communities.

We are Muslim scholars and preachers representing a diverse range of theological schools. Below is our collective, non-partisan articulation of Islam’s position on sexual and gender ethics. As a religious minority that frequently experiences bigotry and exclusion, we reject the notion that moral disagreement amounts to intolerance or incitement of violence. We affirm our right to express our beliefs while simultaneously recognizing our constitutional obligation to exist peacefully with those whose beliefs differ from ours.

The Source of Morality for Muslims

The most essential requirement for accepting Islam is to submit to God completely, voluntarily, and lovingly. God says, “It is not for a believing man or woman—when God and His Messenger decree a matter—to have any other choice in that matter” (Quran, al-Azāb:36). By submitting to God, we declare that only He possesses absolute knowledge and wisdom. Therefore, it follows from this submission that the ultimate source and basis of morality is Divine guidance, not just reason or societal trends.

Islam enjoys a rich tradition of jurisprudence that allows for diverse perspectives and accommodates various cultural norms. However, particular principles that are explicitly stated in revelation, known to be necessary elements of Islam, and unanimously agreed upon by qualified scholars are deemed immutable and not open to revision by any person or entity, including the highest religious authorities. As God asserts, “And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and justice. None can alter His words, and He is the All-Hearing, the All- Knowing” (Quran, al-An‘ām: 115).

Islam’s Position on Sexuality and Gender

By a decree from God, sexual relations are permitted within the bounds of marriage, and marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. In the Quran, God explicitly condemns sexual relations with the same sex (see, e.g., Quran, al-Nisā’: 16, al-A‘rāf: 80–83, and al-Naml: 55–58). Moreover, premarital and extramarital sexual acts are prohibited in Islam. As God explains, “Do not go near fornication. It is truly an immoral deed and a terrible way [to behave]” (Quran, al-Isrā’: 32). These aspects of Islam are unambiguously established in the Quran, the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and a chain of scholarly tradition spanning fourteen centuries. As a result, they have gained the status of religious consensus (ijmā‘) and are recognized as integral components of the faith known to the general body of Muslims.

God defined humanity as consisting of males and females and declared that He “… created [humans] from a male and a female and made [them] into peoples and tribes so that you may come to know one another” (Quran, al-ujurāt: 13; see also al-Najm: 45). Islam affirms that men and women are spiritually equal before God, even though each has different characteristics and roles. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) referred to women as equivalent counterparts of men. Yet, he (peace be upon him) explicitly condemned imitating the appearance of the opposite gender. Further, God calls on humanity to respect His wisdom in creation (see, e.g., Quran, al-Nisā’: 119). As such, as a general rule, Islam strictly prohibits medical procedures intended to change the sex of healthy individuals, regardless of whether such procedures are termed gender “affirming” or “confirming.” For individuals born with biological ambiguities, such as disorders of sexual development, Islam permits them to seek medical care for corrective reasons.

Islam distinguishes between feelings, actions, and identity. God holds individuals accountable for their words and actions, not for their involuntary thoughts and feelings. As our Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “God has pardoned Muslims for what they think, as long as they do not speak of or act on it” (Bukhari, 2528). In Islam, the sinful actions of an individual do not and should not dictate his or her identity. As such, it is impermissible for Muslims to take pride in identifying with labels that categorize them by their sins. It is important to note that the stance of Islam on illicit sexual relations goes hand in hand with its protection and promotion of the individual’s right to privacy. Islam prohibits prying into others’ private lives and discourages public disclosure of sexual behavior (see, e.g., Quran, al-ujurāt: 12 and al-Nūr: 19).

We recognize that some religious groups have reinterpreted or revised religious doctrine to be inclusive of LGBTQ ideology. The Muslim community is not immune to such pressures. Indeed, some have attempted to reinterpret Islamic texts in favor of LGBTQ affirmation. We categorically reject such efforts as theologically indefensible because these aspects of sexual ethics fit within the category of immutable tenets and are therefore not subject to revision.

Our Constitutional Right to Hold Our Views

We recognize that our moral code conflicts with the goals of LGBTQ proponents. We also acknowledge their constitutional right to live in peace and free from abuse. Nevertheless, we emphasize our God-given and constitutional rights to hold, live by, and promote our religious beliefs in the best manner (Quran, al-Nal: 125) without fear of legal reprisal or systematic marginalization. Peaceful coexistence does not necessitate agreement, acceptance, affirmation, promotion, or celebration. We refuse the false choice between succumbing to social pressures to adopt views contrary to our beliefs or facing unfounded charges of bigotry. Such coercive ultimatums undermine prospects for harmonious coexistence.

We call on policymakers to protect our constitutional right to practice our religious beliefs freely, without fear of harassment, and to oppose any legislation seeking to stifle the religious freedoms of faith communities. Consistent with our claim of non-partisanship, we are committed to working with individuals of all religious and political affiliations to protect the constitutional right of faith communities to live according to their religious convictions and to uphold justice for all.

To Our Muslim Community

We urge Muslim public figures to uphold the sanctity of our faith and refrain from making erroneous pronouncements on behalf of Islam. We reject any attempt to attribute positions to Islam concerning sexual and gender ethics that contravene well-established Islamic teachings. To be clear, we cannot overstate the detrimental spiritual consequences for those who intentionally reject, advocate the rejection of, or misrepresent the will of God, as in doing so they endanger their status as believers (Quran, al-An‘ām: 21).

To those among us who struggle with desires that fall outside the boundaries set by God: know that even the most righteous can commit sins and that every Muslim, no matter how sinful, has the potential to be forgiven. Practicing self-restraint in devotion to God is considered heroic. Its spiritual reward increases proportionally with the level of struggle involved. Our ultimate purpose is to prioritize devotion to God over our desires and not sacrifice our faith. We pray to God to grant us the necessary strength and unwavering commitment to live up to our ideals. May we find inner peace and satisfaction through loving submission, and may God deem us worthy of being counted among the believers, the most honorable of titles.

Shaykh Tameem Ahmadi

Nur Institute

Shaykh Hatem al-Hajj, PhD

Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America

Shaykh Salah al-Sawy, PhD

Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America

Shaykh Ammar Alshukry

AlMaghrib Institute

Professor Ovamir Anjum, PhD

Ummatics Institute

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Tayseer Institute

Imam Navaid Aziz

Islamic Information Society of Calgary

Shaykh Jamal Badawi, PhD

Fiqh Council of North America

Professor Ihsan Bagby, PhD

Fiqh Council of North America

Shaykh Nomaan Baig

Institute of Knowledge

Shaykh Waleed Basyouni, PhD

AlMaghrib Institute

Shaykh Ahmed Billoo

Institute of Knowledge

Imam Yaser Birjas

Valley Ranch Islamic Center

Professor Jonathan Brown, PhD

Georgetown University

Canadian Council of Imams

Representing 80 Canadian Imams

Professor Sharif El-Tobgui, PhD

Boston Islamic Seminary

Shaykh Alauddin Elbakri

Tawasaw

Shaykh Shadee Elmasry, PhD

NBIC Safina Society

Shaykh Mohammad Elshinawy

Mishkah University

Imam Tom Facchine

Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research

Shaykh Yasir Fahmy

Prophetic Living

Shaykh Mohammed Faqih

Memphis Islamic Center

Shaykh Yassir Fazzaga

Memphis Islamic Center

Shaykha Hanaa Gamal

Fiqh Council of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston

Professor Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali, PhD

Zaytuna College

Shaykh Suleiman Hani

AlMaghrib Institute

Shaykh Asif Hirani, PhD

Islamic Circle of North America

Shaykh Omar Husain, PhD

haykh AbdulNasir Jangda

Qalam Institute

Shaykh Abdur Rahman Khan

The Shariah Council of Islamic Circle of North America

Shaykh Ahmad Kutty

Ustadha Fatima Lette

Qalam Institute

Shaykh Mohammed Amin Kholwadia

Darul Qasim College

Shaykh Hamzah Maqbul

Ribat Institute

Ustadh AbdelRahman Murphy

Roots Community

Shaykha Ieasha Prime

Barakah Inc. Leadership Institute

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, PhD

Islamic Seminary of America

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, PhD

Al-Maqasid Islamic Seminary

Imam Jihad Saafir

Islah LA

Ustadha Aatifa Shareef, LPC

Qalam Institute

Shaykh Muzzamil Siddiqi, PhD

Fiqh Council of North America

Imam Syed Soharwardy

Islamic Supreme Council of Canada

Shaykh Zulfiqar Ali Shah, PhD

Fiqh Council of North America

Shaykh Omar Suleiman, PhD

Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research

Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Al-Maqasid Islamic Seminary

Shaykh Saad Tasleem

AlMaghrib Institute

Shaykh Mustafa Umar

California Islamic University

Ustadh Mobeen Vaid

Shaykh Abdullah Waheed

Miftaah Institute

Mufti Abdul Rahman Waheed

Miftaah Institute

Imam Siraj Wahhaj

Al-Taqwa Mosque (Brooklyn, NY)

Shaykh Dawud Walid

Shaykha Aysha Wazwaz, PhD

Gems of Light Institute

Imam Suhaib Webb

Institute of Sacred Sciences

Shaykh Tahir Wyatt, PhD

United Muslim Masjid

Shaykha Haifaa Younis, MD

Jannah Institute

Shaykh Jamaal Zarabozo

Shaykh Abu Zayd, PhD

Quran Literacy Institute

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

Institute of Knowledge

Source: 5pillarsuk.com

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https://5pillarsuk.com/2023/05/24/north-american-scholars-defend-normative-islamic-position-on-lgbtq/

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Syrians Abandon Babies At Mosques, Under Trees As More Than 12 Years Of Grinding Conflict Fuel Poverty And Desperation

 

 

25/05/2023

"I took her home and told my wife, 'I brought you a gift'," said the 59-year-old resident of Hazano, in rebel-held northwest Syria.

He named the baby Hibatullah, meaning "gift of God", and decided to raise her as one of the family.

Officials say babies are being left outside mosques, hospitals and even under olive trees in war-torn Syria as more than 12 years of grinding conflict fuel poverty and desperation.

"Only a few cases of child abandonment" were officially documented before the war broke out in 2011, according to the Washington-based group Syrians for Truth and Justice, which records human rights abuses in the country.

But between early 2021 and late 2022, more than 100 children -- 62 of them girls -- were found abandoned across the country, it said in a March report, estimating the real figure to be much higher.

"The numbers have increased dramatically" since the start of the conflict along with "the social and economic repercussions of the war" affecting both government-controlled and rebel-held areas, the group said.

It pointed to factors including poverty, instability, insecurity and child marriage, along with sexual abuse and pregnancy out of wedlock.

While adoption is forbidden across Syria, Othman has asked the local authorities for permission to raise Hibatullah.

"I told my children that if I die, she should have part of my inheritance," even though she can never officially be part of the family, he said, breaking into tears.

The three-year-old, her hair pulled back loosely into pigtails and tottering around in shiny pink sandals, now calls him "grandpa".

"She is just an innocent child," Othman said.

'Victims'

Syria's war has killed more than 500,000 people, displaced millions and ravaged the country's infrastructure.

Health department official Zaher Hajjo told AFP that 53 abandoned newborn babies had been registered in government-controlled areas in the first 10 months of last year -- 28 boys and 25 girls.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad this year issued a decree creating dedicated facilities for the children, who would be automatically registered as Arab, Syrian and Muslim, with the place of birth as the location they were found.

In rebel-held Idlib province, social workers at the main centre for abandoned children tended to tiny babies wrapped tightly in blankets in basic cradles, some spruced up with purple paint or ribbons.

In the bare-walled room with a brown-and-beige carpet, one woman rocked a baby to sleep with one hand while feeding another milk with the other.

Faisal al-Hammoud, head of programmes at the centre, said one baby girl they took in was found under an olive tree after being mauled by a cat.

"Blood was dripping down her face," he said, adding that the orphanage had since entrusted her to a family.

Workers follow up to make sure such babies are well treated and "that there is no child trafficking", Hammoud added.

The centre has taken in 26 babies -- 14 girls and 12 boys -- since it opened in 2019, and nine this year alone, said Abdullah Abdullah, a civil affairs official with Idlib's rebel authorities.

More than four million people live in areas controlled by jihadists and Turkish-backed groups in Syria's north and northwest, 90 percent of whom depend on aid to survive.

"The war is to blame and families too" for child abandonments, Abdullah said.

"These children are victims," he added.

Source: france24.com

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https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20230525-syrians-abandon-babies-at-mosques-under-trees-as-war-grinds-on

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 India

 Hindu Son, Muslim Daughter Argue Over Mother’s Funeral In Hyderabad, Police Settle Matter

Written by Rahul V Pisharody

May 24, 2023

An argument between two siblings and their families who practice different religions over the funeral of their mother late Tuesday night evoked mildly tense moments in Hyderabad’s Madannapet.

Sensing tension as people gathered at street corners, the local police swung into action and reached a congenial agreement after hours of verification of facts and documents, and consultation.

The incident occurred at the Darab Jung colony after the 95-year-old woman’s son and grandchildren, who lived in nearby Chaderghat, claimed rights over her funeral as per his Hindu religious tradition. The daughter, who converted to Islam two decades ago, objected to this, claiming that she had been caring for the ailing mother in the last 12 years and that her mother had also converted to Islam. The daughter, aged in her 60s, told reporters that the mother had accepted Islam and that it was her last wish to be buried as per their tradition.

“My mother was living with me for the last 12 years, and I have been taking good care of her even though no one else cared for her. I got her surgery done recently for Rs 5 lakh, and no one came to help. My mother said that no one would come asking for her after her death and that she be given final prayers and buried as per our tradition,” the woman said. After the crowding up of people from both communities on the streets over the death and last rites of the elderly woman, the police deployed forces there in the night.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East) Ch Rupesh denied any tension and said it was a family dispute that the police had amicably sorted out. As per the daughter’s preferences, final prayers were conducted at her home and the body was handed over to the son’s family for cremation as per their wish. “There is no tension. It is all within the family. The brother and sister have compromised,” the DCP told indianexpress.com.

The police held discussions with both sides of the family between 11.45 pm and 1.30 am and settled the matter by 2.30 am. According to the Madannapet police, the woman died of an age-related illness Tuesday evening. While one of her two sons is no more, she had been living with her daughter at Madannapet. “The daughter produced videos and documents to show that her mother had converted to Islam in January 2023. We verified all details, and following consultation with elders, the body was handed over to the son’s family for cremation after the daughter’s family conducted final prayers as per their traditions,” said B Janaiah, station house officer of Madannapet police station.

Source: indianexpress.com

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/hyderabad/hindu-son-muslim-daughter-mothers-funeral-hyderabad-police-settle-matter-8626381/

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Karnataka Congress Govt May Withdraw Circular Banning Hijab, Warns Of RSS Ban

May 25, 2023

BENGALURU: The Congress government in Karnataka is seriously considering withdrawing the primary and secondary education department’s circular prohibiting hijabs in schools and pre-university colleges in the state.

Senior state minister Priyank Kharge also said that his government would ban outfits like the Bajrang Dal if peace in the state was disturbed. “We have promised in our manifesto to turn Karnataka into a paradise. If peace is disturbed, we won’t consider if it is Bajrang Dal or any other Sangh Parivar outfit,” he said.

Asked specifically about the RSS, he said, “If anyone breaks the law, they will be treated as per the law of the land, even if it means a ban.” Some elements have been roaming freely in society without fear of the law or police for the past four years, he said. “If the BJP leadership finds it unacceptable, they can go to Pakistan,” Priyank added. “We will review the hijab order and the revision of textbooks, besides all legislation, including the anti-cow slaughter and anti-conversion laws, passed by the previous BJP government. If we find any of these laws contentious, communal or going against the social fabric or image of the state, we will consider repealing them,’’ said Priyank.

The hijab row had erupted after six students at the Government Pre-University College for Girls, Udupi, who were not allowed to enter their classrooms wearing the hijab, began a protest in December 2021. The protests spread across the state, vitiating educational campuses in coastal and Malnad districts.

The previous BJP government had issued a circular prohibiting hijabs in schools and pre-university colleges in the state. The matter reached the Karnataka HC, which upheld the decision of the state government. The issue was later taken up in the Supreme Court where a two-judge bench pronounced a split verdict. The Supreme Court then said it would consider setting up a three-judge bench to adjudicate the matter.

“Our government stands firm on reviewing legislation that is unconstitutional, violates the rights of an individual, and affects the image of the state, investment and employment. We want to build an economically and socially equal Karnataka. As many as 18,000 minority students have been out of school since the hijab circular came into effect. We want to ensure they return to the mainstream and continue their education,’’ said Priyank, son of AICC chief Mallikarjun Kharge.

The previous BJP government had passed the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020, which laid out stringent punishments for violations and provided for powers to search and seize premises; and the Anti-Conversion Act, 2022, which said: “No person shall convert or attempt to convert either directly or otherwise any other person from one religion to another by use of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or by any fraudulent means or by marriage, nor shall any person abet or conspire for conversions.”

Congress insiders claimed the party was planning to withdraw the circular on the hijab and repeal the anti-cow slaughter and anti-conversion laws brought by the previous BJP government.

While campaigning for the assembly polls, Congress had stated that the ban on the hijab and all laws made on a communal basis by the previous BJP government would be withdrawn once the party forms government in the state.

While some senior party functionaries are in favour of a ban on Bajrang Dal, as promised in the manifesto, several have taken objection in view of the fact that Lok Sabha polls are not far off and the party does not want to play into the hands of BJP.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/karnataka-govt-may-withdraw-circular-banning-hijab-warns-of-rss-ban/articleshow/100484319.cms

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Aurangzeb wasn't cruel, didn't order demolition of temple: Muslim side's plea in Gyanvapi dispute

Roshan Jaiswal

Pankaj Srivastava

May 24, 2023

By Roshan Jaiswal, Pankaj Srivastava: Anjuman Islamia Masjid Committee, a party in cases related to the Gyanvapi Masjid dispute, submitted a petition before a Varanasi court on Wednesday in response to a plea filed by the Hindu side demanding an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) inspection of the disputed mosque site. In its application, the Muslim side has claimed that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was not cruel nor did he demolish any Adi Vishveshwara temple in Varanasi in 1669.

"Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb was not cruel, and it was not by his decree that the Lord Vishveshwara Temple in Varanasi was demolished in the year 1669. Furthermore, there has never been a notion or concept of having two Kashi Vishwanath temples (old and new) in Varanasi, neither in the past nor at present," the application read.

The application also claimed that the Gyanvapi moque structure has been there for thousands of years, contending that it was a masjid and is still a masjid.

"The mosque known as Alamgiri and Gyanvapi masjid, which stands at the site, has been in existence for thousands of years. It was a mosque yesterday and it is a mosque today. Muslims from Varanasi and nearby districts continue to pray here without any hindrance," the plea stated.

The Muslim side raised an objection before the Varanasi district court to a petition seeking direction to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to survey the entire Gyanvapi mosque complex.

VHP RESPONDS TO MUSLIM SIDE'S CLAIMS

Responding to the claims, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said that except for a handful of individuals, no one in the world will digest this. "If they have so much faith in their messiah named Aurangzeb, why are they afraid of the survey?" VHP national spokesperson Vinod Bansal said.

NEXT HEARING ON MAY 26

Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court will hear the matter of conducting an ASI survey at the Gyanvapi mosque site on May 26 (Friday).

In August 2021, five women filed a petition in the local court seeking the right to perform regular worship at the Shringar Gauri site located in the Gyanvapi mosque premises.

In April 2022, a senior division court ordered a survey on the mosque premises. The survey was completed in May 2022. During that time, a Shivling was allegedly found in the mosque which the Muslim side claimed was a fountain.

Last week, the Supreme Court told the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to not conduct carbon dating of a 'Shivling' inside the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath corridor, till the next hearing on the matter.

Source: indiatoday.in

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/gyanvapi-dispute-muslim-side-aurangzeb-not-cruel-vhp-asi-survey-court-hearing-2383802-2023-05-24

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Emirates Red Crescent:Mosque And Well To Be Built In India In Memory Of Six Killed In Abu Dhabi Fire

May 24, 2023

A charity worker who died in a fire in Abu Dhabi will have a mosque named after her.

Fatima Mohammed Al Hosani and five others were killed when the blaze tore through their villa in Bani Yas.

Emirates Red Crescent said the dedicated volunteer would have a place of worship built in her name in India, where the charity carries out vital work.

"The Emirates Red Crescent Authority extends its deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of the volunteer Fatima Mohammed Al Hosani," the authority tweeted on the night of the fire. "May Allah inspired her family with solace and patience."

The charity has launched a Dh110,000 project to build a mosque and well in India to honour those killed in the fire. They will be constructed in the name of Sadaqah Jariyah, the Arabic word for charity that benefits those even after death.On Wednesday, the authority urged the public to donate money to help build a kindergarten in Kyrgyzstan at a cost of Dh261,000, also in memory of the six killed.

ERC plays a role in many building projects in various countries as part of its continuing humanitarian commitment to help disadvantaged people around the world.

It focuses mainly on Africa and Asia to help communities regardless of ethnic, cultural, geographical or religious status. The locations chosen have no direct link those killed but are in areas where ERC has a presence.

Meanwhile, tributes have poured in on social media from members of the UAE community, friends and relatives since the fire took place.

Abdulaziz Al Hammadi posted a picture of a child – who also died in Monday's fire – with his father alongside an image of the house damaged by fire, offering condolences to the family.

"May God grant you patience and solace. We belong to Allah and to Allah we shall return," he wrote in a tweet.

Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khali, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, attended the funeral on Monday night and sent condolences to Mr Mohammed Al Hosani for the death of his family members.

"The department offers deepest condolences to the family and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured," the department tweeted.

Source: thenationalnews.com

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original

https://www.thenationalnews.com/uae/2023/05/24/mosque-and-well-to-be-built-in-india-in-memory-of-six-killed-in-abu-dhabi-fire/

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Europe

 

Paris to Mecca: A cyclist raising awareness on climate crisis among Muslims

In recent years, Nabil Ennasri says, research on the climate crisis has evidenced the perils the planet faces, as scientists agree that “we must slow down our development model if we want to keep a habitable planet”.

The 41-year-old analyst, writer and activist, however, feels that the global Muslim community has largely “neglected” what he describes as the “most crucial issue for humanity”.

As such, Ennasri is taking action, raising awareness to safeguard the health of the planet and combining it with one of the holiest journeys that Muslims have undertaken for thousands of years.

On April 22, the French citizen of Moroccan ancestry began an epic cycle odyssey that will take him over 5900 km across 13 countries. Cycling 100 km a day, he intends to complete the journey from Paris to Mecca (Saudi Arabia) in time for the start of the hajj on June 26.

“As a Muslim, there is no place more sacred, more symbolic and more beautiful than the Kaaba, and no journey more important than the pilgrimage to Mecca,” he tells TRT World after reaching Istanbul on Tuesday.

“It is the direction to which we turn at least five times daily. It is the place of change, of improvement, and par excellence. It is the place of renewal. All this symbolism is essential to this journey,” he says.

Among Muslims, the hajj is widely considered a duty to be completed at least once in a lifetime, and Ennasri wishes to revive how it is carried out among the community.

“We must review the meaning of travel because even when it comes to pilgrimage, we tend to make it an object of consumption when it should be a walk (path) towards the sacred which must lead us to change ourselves deeply,” says Ennasri.

In the lead-up to his journey, he took to social media to promote his odyssey - under the hashtag HadjByCycle.

He has also released several vlogs on YouTube, allowing viewers to observe his challenges and his ‘fierce desire’ to complete his journey amid different terrains and adverse weather conditions.

Ennasri announced his odyssey a month ago, insisting he has been in training for the challenge for the last few years. In the YouTube videos, he said his voyage was also to honour his father and immigrants to France, who he said had sacrificed for his generation’s prosperity.

In keeping with this sentiment, Ennasri chose the first location where his father first set foot in France in August 1969 after leaving his village in Morocco alone in search of a better life.

Ennasri began his cycling odyssey at the Gare Montparnasse, retracing his father’s footsteps at one of the six large railways in France’s capital, Paris, while jubilant well-wishers applauded him.

After crossing 10 countries with a small team supporting him, on Tuesday, Ennasri reached Istanbul in Türkiye - the gateway between Europe and Asia, where young and old gathered to applaud him beside Fatih Mosque.

For the self-described “history buff” since childhood, his arrival in the historical city was something special.

“As a Muslim, I was naturally interested in our history, and it is impossible to study Islamic history without being fascinated by the period of the Ottoman state. Whether it is scientific production, architectural influence, or key dates in human history, this era is at the heart of the issues,” says Ennasri.

“In Türkiye, history speaks to us at the turn of every street, and it is both a visual and intellectual pleasure,” he adds.

Ennasri says there are two main reasons driving him forward on his journey, crossing the different landscapes of Germany, Austria and Italy, among others.

He says the first is “to propose a new way of practising our religion and thus revive the deep meaning of the journey: the one that transforms you, the one from which you return a better version of yourself, and not the one that consists simply of an additional act of consumption.”

The second reason is “to pay homage to our elders who accomplished the pilgrimage on foot or on horseback, braving all the risks in order to get to Mecca.”

So far, he has traversed different landscapes, coming into contact with different peoples and cultures in several countries, including Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.

After Türkiye, he is set to cross into Jordan before eventually reaching Saudi Arabia.

He insists the aim of his trip is to focus on the issue of climate change, helping to make it a “priority” among followers of Islam.

“I humbly wish to bring the Muslims of the world to participate in this common effort to preserve the creation that Allah has given us as a deposit (Amâna),” he says.

Source: trtworld.com

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original

https://www.trtworld.com/climate/paris-to-mecca-a-cyclist-raising-awareness-on-climate-crisis-among-muslims-13360091

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Dozens of mosques attacked in Germany in 2022

25 May 2023

At least 35 mosques were attacked in Germany last year, with the majority of these attacks motivated by Islamophobia and right-wing extremism in the country, according to a new report released by Turkish-Muslim group DITIB, Azernews reports, citing foreign media outlets.

The DITIB's anti-discrimination office recently released a 32-page report analyzing hate crimes, threats, and attacks targeting mosques and Islamic organizations in Germany in 2022.

According to DITIB experts, anti-Muslim violence was closely related to social and political developments in the country, as well as public debates about immigrants, Muslims, and Islam.

“Polarizing and unobjective debates, an increase in stigmatizing (especially demonization of Muslims), are leading to an increase in attacks targeting mosques,” the experts wrote in their report.

In 2022, at least 35 mosques were targeted in attacks, with 19 of them motivated by Islamophobia, and eight other attacks carried out by right-wing extremists.

In seven cases, anti-Turkish sentiment was the main motivation of the suspects, according to the report.

Left-wing extremists and followers of the PKK terror group were behind several attacks targeting mosques.

In recent years, Germany has witnessed an increase in racism and Islamophobia, fueled by the propaganda of far-right groups and parties that have exploited the refugee crisis and attempted to instill immigrants fear.

Germany, with a population of over 84 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. It is home to nearly five million Muslims, according to official figures.

Source: azernews.az

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https://www.azernews.az/region/210225.html

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Watershed Muslim political moment in Birmingham commuter town

24 MAY 2023

A Muslim councillor in a Birmingham commuter town has acknowledged a breakthrough political moment for the Worcestershire town. Cllr Salman Akbar has become Redditch's first British Pakistani Muslim Mayor.

Conservative Cllr Akbar was elected Mayor of Redditch at the annual meeting of Redditch Borough Council on Monday, May 22. The new Mayor is reflective of Redditch's more diverse make-up over the past decade.

Census results for 2021 showed that more than one in every 17 people in Redditch, or 5.7%, now identify as "Asian, Asian British or Asian Welsh".

Christians make up the majority of residents in the commuter town, at around 49%, but the second largest religious group is Muslims at 4.2%. Although 40% of Redditch residents said they had no religion.

Representing Crabbs Cross ward, Cllr Akbar works and lives in the town at the end of the Cross City Line from Birmingham New Street Station. He is a director of Redditch-based specialist engineering and IT agency, Hamiltons Consulting, where his wife works.

He was also a director of former Redditch Muslim Community Association before it folded in 2020.

Cllr Akbar said: “I am humbled to have been elected the Mayor of Redditch. It is a great privilege to be the first ever British Pakistani Muslim Mayor of Redditch.

“I look forward to working with different communities and groups within Redditch and promoting community integration.

"I would like to thank my family, friends, and colleagues for their continued support. I would also like to thank former Mayor of Redditch, Ann Isherwood, for her service to Redditch, and congratulate Cllr Karen Ashley on her election as Deputy Mayor."

Redditch Conservatives Group commented: "We know you will be a fantastic representative of our wonderful town."

The Office for National Statistics(ONS) found that Redditch's population had grown by 3.4% since 2011 - from 84,200 to 87,000 people. Over the same time, the proportion of Muslim residents also rose slightly from 3.4% to 4.2%.

Cllr Akbar is yet to choose which civic charities he will support in the coming year. Outgoing Mayor, Ann Isherwood, raised £13,375 during her term of office for her chosen charity, Touchstones.

Source: birminghammail.co.uk

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https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/watershed-muslim-political-moment-birmingham-26982795

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We want to kill Putin – Ukrainian deputy intelligence chief

24 May, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin is on Ukraine’s kill list, the deputy chief of the country’s intelligence agency has revealed. Vadim Skibitsky added that his subordinates are also hunting down top Russian military commanders.

Speaking to Germany’s Die Welt media outlet on Wednesday, Skibitsky was asked whether his service is trying to assassinate the Russian head of state. The Ukrainian official replied by saying that President Putin “notices that we’re getting ever closer to him.”

According to Skibitsky, the Ukrainian intelligence service has failed to kill Putin because he “stays holed up,” but added that the Russian commander-in-chief “is now beginning to stick his head out.” 

When he does appear publicly, however, the intelligence agency is “not sure whether it’s really him,” Skibitsky insisted.

He added that his subordinates were “trying to kill” Yevgeny Prighozhin, the head of the Wagner private military company.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov have also been marked for elimination by the Ukrainian intelligence service, its deputy chief claimed.

When asked whether Kiev was behind the assassinations of journalist and activist Darya Dugina last August and military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky in late April, as well as the attempt on the life of writer Zakhar Prilepin earlier this month, Skibitsky claimed that these had been ‘inside jobs’. 

The Ukrainian official also alleged that various groups within the Russian elite were fighting each other for power. 

Skibitsky added that Russian “propagandists” are not the top priority targets for his service as opposed to Russian military unit commanders. He claimed that Kiev had managed to assassinate some of this top brass but refused to give any names or numbers.

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/russia/576842-ukraine-putin-kill-list/

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Russia’s top spy tells US and UK to ‘go to hell’

24 May, 2023

The US and UK should leave Iran alone, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, has said. The official also suggested that the two nations are dismayed by the success of China’s efforts to reconcile Iran and Saudi Arabia.  

Speaking on Wednesday at the International Meeting of High Representatives for Security Issues, Naryshkin said he would advise the “Anglo-Saxons to take care of their own internal civil conflicts. Or better yet, go to their old pal – the devil.”

According to the official, Washington and London view the recent normalization of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia in a strictly negative light. He claimed that the two allies are wary that Beijing’s diplomatic activities in the region could undermine their long-term strategy to weaken the Islamic Republic. 

Naryshkin went on to allege that American and British government agencies have been tasked with derailing China’s diplomatic efforts and discrediting its role as a mediator. He cited narratives to this effect in the media, adding, however, that the US and UK are unlikely to succeed with their supposed smear campaign “in the new geopolitical reality.”

Russia’s top spy argued that Western powers could play a role in ensuring global security and prosperity, but only as one of numerous centers of a multipolar world. However, the “insane vanity” of these nations precludes them from acting on an equal footing with other players, Naryshkin claimed. 

Quoting from the Bible, the Russian official added that “their end will correspond to their deeds,” and predicted that America and Britain’s fate “will be sad.”

Several Iranian media outlets reported on Tuesday that Tehran had appointed a new ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

The two nations agreed in March to restore diplomatic ties, having severed them in 2016. Soon thereafter they announced plans to reopen their respective embassies.

The talks between Riyadh and Tehran were described as a major diplomatic win for China, with President Xi Jinping personally persuading the two nations to patch things up, China’s People’s Daily newspaper reported in late April. 

The negotiations were also marked by the conspicuous absence of the US.

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/russia/576836-top-spy-us-uk-go-devil/

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Pakistan

 

PFF and MCB Islamic Bank collaborate to simplify club account opening process

May 24, 2023

The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and MCB Islamic Bank have forged a strategic partnership, marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the FIFA House in Lahore on Wednesday. The purpose of MoU is to simplify and speed up the process of opening bank accounts for clubs, a key statuary requirement for the club to become a voting right holder.

The MoU ceremony was attended by Zargham Khan Durrani, President MCB Islamic Bank, Muhammad Hamid Yasin, Group Head CF, Usman Ali Alvi, Business Head, Ashar Iqbal, Head RBG North, Agha Muhammad Ali, National Sales Manager CF, Amer Baig, Head CFI, Azhar Iqbal, Head Institutional Sales, PFF NC Chairman Haroon Malik, NC members Muhammad Shahid Niaz Khokhar and Haris Azmat.

The MoU ceremony was attended by Zargham Khan Durrani, President MCB Islamic Bank, Muhammad Hamid Yasin, Group Head CF, Usman Ali Alvi, Business Head CF, Ashar Iqbal, Head RBG North, Agha Muhammad Ali, National Sales Manager CF, Amer Baig, Head CFI and Azhar Iqbal, Head Institutional Sales, PFF NC Chairman Haroon Malik, NC members Muhammad Shahid Niaz Khokhar and Haris Azmat.

President of MCB Islamic Bank, Zargham Khan Durrani, was overwhelmed with the partnership and stated: "We are pleased to announce our partnership with the PFF. This MoU reflects our dedication to supporting and assisting local communities with the aim of making the registration process easier, faster, and more accessible for all the stakeholders, particularly football clubs, under the umbrella of Pakistan Football Connect."

The PFF also expressed the same fervor for the partnership. On the historical occasion, PFF NC Chairman Haroon Malik emphasized its significance, saying, "The opening of the account for any club is one of the key requirements of the PFF Statutes, which needs to be fulfilled in order to get the club registered and become a voting right holder. To make this process more convenient for the clubs, we have made the decision to collaborate with MCB Islamic Bank, while signing a MoU in this regard to facilitate the football clubs and effectively overcome the obstacles faced during the account opening process for clubs. With this assistance and support of MCB Islamic Bank, we are committed to ensuring that all clubs can now successfully open their accounts with comprehensive guidance and support," the NC Chief asserted.

Haroon Malik emphasized that the primary objective of these collective efforts is to speed up the transparent election process, ensuring that all legitimate stakeholders are provided with essential requirements to actively participate in the elections and select the most suitable administration to govern the PFF. This will not only strengthen Pakistan football but also put it on the path of progress and prosperity.

NC member Shahid Khokhar said NC is focused to support the clubs by all means to bring them to a stage from where they can kick start their journey of professional football development and to focus on the club's sustainable business models.

Source: nation.com.pk

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https://www.nation.com.pk/24-May-2023/pff-and-mcb-islamic-bank-collaborate-to-simplify-club-account-opening-process

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Nation pays rich tribute to martyrs on ‘Youm-e-Takreem Shuhada-e-Pakistan’

May 25, 2023

The nation is observing ‘Youm-e-Takreem Shuhada-e-Pakistan’ on Thursday, to pay rich tribute to the martyrs who laid their lives while protecting the motherland and its people.

The main ceremony of the day was held at the Pakistan Military’s General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

The ceremony was attended by Chief of Army, General Asim Munir, former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, former chairman joint chiefs of staff committee General (retd) Nadeem Raza, families of the martyrs, Pakistan cricket team captain Babar Azam, Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman, law enforcement personnel, students, teachers and other members of the society. Floral wreaths were also laid at the martyrs’ monument.

Separate ceremonies were also held at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and Pakistan Naval Headquarters.

Meanwhile, numerous events featuring Quran khwani and prayers are being organized throughout the country.

These gatherings will serve as a platform for the nation to honour the indomitable spirit and unwavering dedication of the martyrs, hailing from the Pakistan Army, Rangers, Frontier Corps, Frontier Constabulary, Police, and other law enforcement agencies.

Several commemorative ceremonies are being held at the martyrs’ memorials to pay tribute to them.

Earlier, military leadership paid rich tributes to the martyrs of the nation, who sacrificed their lives while defending Pakistan.

“The sacrifices of Shuhada are eternal, will continue to inspire future generations of countrymen and will never be forgotten, irrespective of vicious propaganda by the enemies of Pakistan,” a press statement of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) read.

Source: nation.com.pk

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original

https://www.nation.com.pk/25-May-2023/nation-pays-rich-tribute-to-martyrs-on-youm-e-takreem-shuhada-e-pakistan

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Imran and key aides ‘planned’ May 9 riots, geo-fencing reveals

Asif Chaudhry

May 25, 2023

LAHORE: Former prime minister Imran Khan and his close aides allegedly coordinated efforts to storm the residence of the Lahore corps commander and other buildings, Punjab police claimed citing a geo-fencing report.

Police detected over 400 calls made by the PTI chairman and other senior leaders to allegedly incite party workers to move towards the military officer’s residence in Lahore Cantt, and other sensitive public buildings. It was observed that all the rioters were in contact with the PTI top leadership, based in Zaman Park.

Inspector General of Police Punjab Dr Usman Anwar, when contacted by Dawn, confirmed the geo-fencing record and the alleged use of Imran Khan’s residence for planning the attack on the corps commander’s residence.

A senior officer, requesting anonymity, told Dawn that many important revelations had come from the analysis of the geo-fencing record: it was detected that 154 calls were allegedly made by Imran Khan to party leaders and rioters to provoke them to attack. He said the PTI chairman was the “prime suspect” who allegedly planned the attack on the house of the corps commander.

The officer said call records showed all phone calls were made on May 8 and May 9 — the day of Mr Khan’s arrest — to prepare workers to attack the building. He said as many as a total of 225 callers were reportedly in contact with six PTI leaders; Hammad Azhar, Yasmin Rashid, Mahmoodur Rasheed, Ejaz Chaudhary, Aslam Iqbal, and Murad Ras. They were issuing “particular instructions to the rioters”, he claimed, adding that Dr Yasmin Rashid received 41 calls from various activists of the party.

Similarly, Hammad Azhar made 10 calls to the suspects, while Mahmoodur Rasheed got 75 calls from the alleged attackers. According to the record, Ejaz Chaudhary, Aslam Iqbal, and Murad Ras received 50, 16, and 23 calls each, respectively.

Source: dawn.com

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original

https://www.dawn.com/news/1755602/imran-and-key-aides-planned-may-9-riots-geo-fencing-reveals

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No mercy for May 9 rioters, PM tells martyrs’ families

Syed Irfan Raza

May 25, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said there would be no mercy for those behind the May 9 riots and “they will have to face justice”.

Meanwhile, the federal cabinet was informed that 95 per cent of the suspected arsonists had been traced, whereas 60pc had been arrested.

Speaking at an event held in Islamabad to pay tribute to the country’s martyrs, the prime minister vowed to bring the elements behind the arson and vandalism attacks to justice and reiterated that the nation would not let such “barbaric incidents” happen in future.

He was referring to the countrywide violent protests that erupted earlier this month after PTI chief Imran Khan was arrested on corruption charges. Party workers and supporters ransacked public and private property, torched vehicles, and set the Lahore corps commander’s residence on fire.

The premier said that as the country’s chief executive, it was his responsibility to ensure that legal proceedings were conducted under the law and Constitution against all those who had planned, abetted and executed attacks on different civilian and military installations across the country.

The convention was attended by several families of martyrs, governors, lawmakers, federal and provincial ministers, ambassadors, legislators, civil society members, ulema and senior officials.

Mr Sharif said the May 9 violence was intolerable and unpardonable, as the monuments and statues of martyrs of armed forces and law enforcement agencies were vandalised.

“We will not let it happen again and will keep the national flag high. We will not allow anyone to malign our armed forces,” he said, adding that all perpetrators would be brought to justice.

He said the law would take its course and the rioters would not be given any concession because they “crossed the red line”.

Cabinet meeting

Earlier, the federal cabinet was given a briefing on May 9 violent protests and video footage was also shown on the occasion.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the meeting was informed that those who destroyed public and private properties and vandalised martyrs’ statues and monuments would be penalised under the Pakistan Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Act.

However, those who attacked military installations would be tried under the Army Act, though they would have a right of appeal in a higher court.

The cabinet also vowed to implement the decision made in a recent National Security Committee meeting.

The prime minister directed authorities to speed up the arrests of May 9 rioters while ensuring that no action would be taken against innocent citizens.

The cabinet also discussed the Road to Makkah project, which was signed between Islamabad and Riyadh earlier this month to facilitate Pakistani Haj and Umrah pilgrims.

The cabinet also approved the appointment of Hafeezur Rehman, a retired major general, as the member (administration) of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

Source: dawn.com

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North America

 

St. Paul mosque arsonist also burglarized Lowertown restaurant, new charges say

By NICK FERRARO

May 24, 2023

The man who admitted to setting a St. Paul mosque on fire last week also told investigators he was behind a recent burglary of a downtown restaurant, criminal charges say.

Said Murekezi, 42, now faces a third-degree burglary charge for breaking into Lost Fox in the early morning hours of April 28, causing about $5,000 in damage and stealing money and liquor.

According to Tuesday’s criminal complaint, officers were sent to the restaurant at 213 E. Fourth St. in Lowertown on a burglary alarm around 4:40 a.m. They found a storefront window and a front door window shattered. A large brick was on the ground. Glass at the Urban Wok next door also was broken.

The owner of Lost Fox Kitchen arrived at the business. She told police that change from all three cash register drawers had been stolen, as well as a bottle of top-shelf whiskey. It would cost $3,000 to repair the window and another $2,000 to repair the front door, she said.

Murekezi was arrested May 17 in connection with the arson at Tawhid Islamic Center of Minnesota at Dale Street and University Avenue. In an interview with investigators, Murekezi said he broke into and “burned the building as a form of protest, because of other Muslims in the community having to sleep outside in the cold,” according to the criminal complaint.

Murekezi then admitted to a burglary in downtown St. Paul, Tuesday’s criminal complaint says. Police reviewed video surveillance footage from Lost Fox Kitchen and saw he was wearing the same clothes as when he was arrested for the mosque arson.

At the time of both alleged offenses, Murekezi was on probation for setting fire to a pile of clothes in his room at St. Paul at Mary Hall, a shelter for homeless people, in August 2020.

In both cases, judges have ordered that Murekezi undergo a mental health evaluation to determine whether he is capable of communicating with defense attorneys and competent to participate in criminal proceedings.

The arson was the sixth attack on a mosque in the state this year, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Minnesota chapter. Repair and restoration costs at the Midway mosque were estimated to exceed $250,000.

Murekezi also faces a misdemeanor criminal damage to property charge for breaking into Carondelet Catholic School in South Minneapolis last month. Police found him sleeping in the school’s elevator.

Source: twincities.com

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 https://www.twincities.com/2023/05/24/st-paul-mosque-arsonist-charged-burglarizing-lost-fox/

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Said Murekezi, accused in St. Paul mosque fire, charged with breaking windows at restaurant

MAY 24, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS -- A man accused of setting fire to a mosque in St. Paul last week now faces an additional set of charges for allegedly breaking into a restaurant a few weeks prior to the fire.

Said Murekezi was arrested and charged in connection to an attack on the Tawhid Islamic Center of Minnesota. Charging documents say he broke into the mosque on May 16 and stayed there overnight as he looked for things to burn.

The next morning, surveillance video shows him near the building as smoke is visible, documents say.

Murekezi was arrested last week, and during his interview, admitted to burglarizing a downtown St. Paul business.

According to the charges, police arrived at the Lost Fox restaurant in the early morning of April 28 to find a window broken, as well as the glass on the front door. The owner said it would cost a total of $5,000 to repair. Liquor bottles behind the counter had also been broken, and change from cash register drawers had also been stolen, documents said.

The glass at the restaurant next door, the Urban Wok, had also been broken, documents say. Video footage allegedly shows Murekezi wearing the same outfit during the burglary and mosque fire.

It was The Lost Fox's fourth break-in since the restaurant opened a year ago.

Murekezi had been in custody at the Hennepin County Jail from April 28 to May 15. He is currently in custody in Ramsey County.

In addition to the second-degree arson and second-degree burglary charges he faces in connection to the mosque fire, he now also faces third-degree burglary charges.

Source: cbsnews.com

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https://www.cbsnews.com/minnesota/news/said-murekezi-accused-in-st-paul-mosque-fire-charged-with-breaking-windows-at-restaurant/

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Rambling call about ‘9/11’ was threat to Charlotte mosque, Islamic Center leader says

MAY 24, 2023

A caller made a reference to 9/11 and “terrorists” in what the Islamic Center of Charlotte this week called a direct threat to the mosque. Tuesday’s call was similar to threats the center has received on its voicemail “from time to time,” but the center’s manager answered the call and told the person he was recording the conversation, center spokesman Jibril Hough told The Charlotte Observer. The caller rambled on incoherently despite being told of the recording, but he was clear and direct in his threat against the center, Hough said. Hough released an audio recording of the call to the Observer and other media outlets, along with two South Carolina phone numbers that were apparently in on the call. According to a short audio recording of part of the call, the person or people on the end of the line make what sounds like sexual remarks or jokes. The audio shared with the Observer is garbled, due to the sound quality of the call and recording. At one point, the caller is heard saying “I’ll blow you harder than 9/11.” Hough says his staff was told by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer taking a report this week that the call was “untraceable.” The Observer, however, used public records available online to find the phone numbers Hough recorded are associated with residents of Anderson and Inman — both in the Greenville-Spartanburg area of Upstate South Carolina. And we were able to speak to one of them — who ultimately apologized. MAN APOLOGIZES A man who answered one of the numbers Wednesday told the Observer he was at work at the time of the call and the number must be wrong. A man who answered the other number said a 14-year-old family friend in his office “did something stupid” by calling the Islamic Center. The man, who identified himself only by a first name of “Dave,” said the call to the center “was inappropriate” but that he didn’t believe the 14-year-old “made any type of threat.” The man soon texted the Observer an apology related to what happened. “I do issue a sincere apology for what was said,” the man texted. “I would like the center to know it was very inappropriate and that it will be made known to any parties involved it absolutely will never happen again.” Told of the man’s apology, Hough said: “If he’s sincere, it’s well received.” WILL LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPOND? Still, Hough said, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department needs to follow up by at least visiting the caller’s address to show, just by an officer’s presence, how seriously the department treats such calls. And the department should help ensure the caller receives counseling, he said. “But our community doesn’t think (such threats) are taken as seriously as they should be” by law enforcement agencies, Hough said. “We deserve better than what we’re getting,” Hough said about the response of law enforcement agencies to such calls. CMPD’s public information office didn’t reply to a request for comment from the Observer Wednesday. Hough said he will also notify the FBI of the call. “The FBI takes reports of violence very seriously,” Shelley Lynch, spokeswoman for the FBI Charlotte office said in an email. “We work closely with our law enforcement partners to assess and respond to threats to keep our community safe.” The FBI encourages the public to report crimes to tips.fbi.gov; 800-225-5324; or your local law enforcement agency, Lynch said.

Source: newsobserver.com

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https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article275739056.html

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Mideast

 

Al-Azhar condemns ‘irresponsible and ignorant’ statements by French official against Sunni Islam

 24 May 2023

In a statement on Wednesday, the world’s leading Sunni Islamic institution noted: “The repetition of such irresponsible statements and similar ones by Western officials, despite their clear negative impact on Muslim citizens in Western societies as recognized by wise individuals in both the East and the West, reflects a huge ignorance of Islam and a denial of its civilization in old and contemporary history."

“It is also an unjustified and deliberate provocation for the sensitivities of Muslims around the world,” added Al-Azhar.

On Friday, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin charged during an interview that "Sunni terrorism is the most significant risk to France and Europe.”

Al-Azhar warned that such statements “are part of a Western terrorism practiced by some Western officials against the civilization of the East and the Civilization of Islam which awakened Europe from the era of darkness and brutality.”

 “Al-Azhar also cautions Muslims around the world that these irresponsible statements fuel sectarian conflicts, sow discord among followers of various Islamic schools of thought, and deepen division, strife, and conflict in our Arab and Islamic world,” concluded the statement.

Source: english.ahram.org.eg

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https://english.ahram.org.eg/News/501601.aspx

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Permanent Committee for Islamic-Christian Dialogue holds first meeting in Bahrain

Wed 24-05-2023

MANAMA, 24th May, 2023 (WAM) -- The Permanent Committee for Islamic-Christian Dialogue between the Vatican's Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue and the Muslim Council of Elders held its first meeting in the Kingdom of Bahrain to discuss ways of unifying joint efforts based on the role of religious leaders in facing contemporary global challenges and promoting Islamic-Christian dialogue and cooperation.

The statement affirmed that the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi represents a civilised model that preserves the uniqueness of each religion and promotes human acquaintance based on the Quranic principle "To you, your religion; to me, mine." It also emphasised that the Abrahamic Family House embodies a practical application of the 2019 Abu Dhabi Document on Human Fraternity which was co-signed by Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders, and Pope Francis, Pontiff of the Catholic Church under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Abrahamic Family House serves as a foundation for humanitarian dialogue among people of different religions and a humanitarian basis for coexistence and human fraternity.

The committee also emphasised the importance of enhancing citizenship and abandoning the exclusionary use of the terms “minority” and “majority”. It also commended the Al-Azhar Declaration on Citizenship issued during the ‘Freedom and Citizenship: Diversity and Integration’ conference held in Egypt between Al-Azhar and the Muslim Council of Elders, as well as the principles stated in the Document on Human Fraternity and the Kingdom of Bahrain Declaration for Peacful Coexistence.

The statement also noted the importance of efforts by religious leaders in addressing the negative impacts of climate change and the dangers it poses to the future of humanity. It highlighted the role that interreligious and intercultural dialogue can play in enhancing the involvement of religious leaders and institutions in confronting climate change during the upcoming COP28 conference. It also expressed its support for the United Nations and the United Arab Emirates in organising the COP28 conference to achieve effective solutions to address the negative climate impacts that threaten the future and well-being of humanity.

The statement pointed to the need to prepare a future project that includes various initiatives to enhance dialogue among people of different religions, with a special focus on Islamic-Christian dialogue. Such peace initiatives can be discussed and agreed upon at a later stage.

The Permanent Committee for Islamic-Christian Dialogue expressed its utmost gratitude to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the King of Bahrain, and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain for hosting the committee's inaugural meeting and supporting its findings of strengthening bridges of communication, promoting values of tolerance, mutual respect, and coexistence. The committee also acknowledged the Kingdom of Bahrain's role in promoting dialogue, human fraternity and coexistence.

The meeting was attended by Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso, President of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Elders, Professor Dr. Abbas Shouman, former Deputy of Al-Azhar, Al Sayyid Ali Al-Amine, member of the Muslim Council of Elders, Datuk Senator Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, member of the Muslim Council of Elders, member of the Malaysian Senate and Malaysia’s former Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Shaykh Abdulrahman Derar Al Shaer, member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in the Kingdom of Bahrain representing Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in the Kingdom of Bahrain and member of the Muslim Council of Elders, Dr. Mohammad Al-Sammak, Secretary-General of the National Committee for Christian-Muslim Dialogue in Lebanon, Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, Secretary of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue and Monsignor Aldo Berardi, Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia.

The Permanent Committee for Islamic-Christian Dialogue was established under a joint memorandum of understanding between the Abu Dhabi-based Muslim Council of Elders and the Vatican's Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue.

Source: wam.ae

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https://www.wam.ae/en/details/1395303161774

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Al-Sunni discusses political developments in Libya with his British counterpart

24/05/2023

Libya's representative to the United Nations, Taher Al-Sunni, met Tuesday in New York with his British counterpart, Barbara Woodward to discuss political developments in Libya.

“We discussed issues of mutual interest, especially the latest political developments in Libya, and the UN efforts in facilitating discussions to reach consensus on the legal frame work for national elections, in addition to the recent events in Sudan and it’s impact on the region”, Al-Sunni tweeted.

Source: libyaobserver.ly

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https://libyaobserver.ly/inbrief/al-sunni-discusses-political-developments-libya-his-british-counterpart

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Arab World

 

Saudi Astronauts, Rayyanah And Ali Al-Qarni, Share With Students Their Experience Staying At The International Space Station

May 25, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni contacted a group of students in Riyadh using amateur radio frequencies from the International Space Station.

The initiative was coordinated with the Saudi Space Commission, the Ministry of Education and the Communications, and the Communications, Space and Technology Commission. It aims to engage students in science and inspire curiosity about space technologies.

The students interacted with Barnawi and Al-Qarni, with the two answering questions about living in space and the daily routine at the International Space Station, and sharing their feelings about their journey.

During their stay in space, the astronauts aim to conduct 20 research projects. Among them are 14 projects developed by Saudi scientists, covering areas such as human physiology, cell biology and technology.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2309891/saudi-arabia

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Saudi Arabia to host antimicrobial resistance meeting in 2024, says health minister

May 24, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is to host the fourth international ministerial conference on antimicrobial resistance in November 2024.

The announcement was made by Saudi Minister of Health Fahad Al-Jalajel who said the Kingdom would also be taking part in an event next year to promote awareness about the issue as part of the UN Declaration on antimicrobial resistance.

Al-Jalajel noted that the events would help contribute toward finding efficient and sustainable solutions while increasing preparedness for threats to public health at regional and international levels.

A Saudi delegation headed by the minister is currently participating in the 76th session of the World Health Assembly being held at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The conference, titled “WHO at 75: Saving Lives, Driving Health for All,” runs until May 30.

Al-Jalajel pointed out that the Kingdom was committed to working toward achieving the principles included in the leaders’ statement delivered during the 2020 G20 Summit, which was chaired by Saudi Arabia and coincided with the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

He added that the principles included the need to find long-term solutions to address gaps in global pandemic preparedness and response, as well as the subsequent establishment of the Pandemic Fund and the Kingdom’s contribution to it.

“Today we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization and we reaffirm our noble goals, our constant endeavors and our ongoing efforts to protect and save lives, and our continued work to promote health for all,” he said.

Al-Jalajel praised the efforts of the organization and its member states to amend international health regulations, and the ongoing negotiations to draft a pandemic treaty that would create additional legal tools to deal with future pandemics and overcome some of the obstacles and challenges the world has faced in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: arabnews.com

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AlUla’s Jabal Ikmah receives world recognition, listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register

May 24, 2023

ALULA, Saudi Arabia: The efforts of the Royal Commission for AlUla to conserve the region’s heritage have been acknowledged with the listing of Jabal Ikmah on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

The RCU has been heavily investing in the study and conservation of sites such as Jabal Ikmah — which has been described as an “open-air library” situated in the world’s largest living museum — said a media statement on Wednesday.

Efforts to enhance the world’s understanding of the site, while improving visitors’ access in a sustainable way, have contributed to the public affirmation by UNESCO of the magnitude and international significance of AlUla’s documentary heritage.

Jose Ignacio Gallego Revilla, the commission’s archaeology and heritage research executive director, said the significance of the site’s inscriptions transcended regional boundaries to reach the level of global relevance, in particular as part of the evolution of Old Arabic languages and dialects.

He said: “Their authenticity and integrity, both for the information preserved about ancient societies as well as the conservation of the site, bring together the essentials that make this place unique for the Memory of the World as the chronicle of a lost time through the largest number of inscriptions in an ancient North Arabian script.”

The spectacular mountain and its sandstone canyons feature 450 historically significant carved inscriptions, most of which date from the second half of the first millennium B.C.

The site features the largest collection of inscriptions recording the ancient Dadanite Kingdom’s religious rituals, daily activities, and relations with neighboring peoples.

As a crossroads on the incense and pilgrimage routes, the AlUla oasis was a hub of commercial and cultural exchange. It hosted merchants of myrrh, frankincense, and other precious commodities. This cultural richness propelled the growth of settlements, including Dadan.

The Dadanite Kingdom flourished and developed its own alphabet form of the South Semitic writing system. The Dadanites then recorded their history through petroglyphs carved into the sloping red and yellow sandstone rocks of AlUla.

The greatest concentration of inscriptions is sheltered in the gorge of Jabal Ikmah, which is characteristic of AlUla’s jagged landscape formed by tectonic movements that date to the opening of the Red Sea 30 million years ago.

Many of Jabal Ikmah’s inscriptions reflect a variety of subjects such as rituals, kings, animals, and agriculture, key to the story of AlUla’s past.

Conservation of such landmarks is central to RCU’s vision for the future of AlUla, which emphasizes the region’s cultural heritage as both a beacon for tourism and a springboard for innovation and economic benefits that raise the quality of life for the community.

Source: arabnews.com

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2309716/saudi-arabia

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Saudi Arabia restores diplomatic relations with Canada

May 24, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry announced on Wednesday that it is restoring diplomatic relations with Canada.

The decision comes after a discussion between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Bangkok in November last year.

The desire of both sides to restore relations was based on mutual respect and common interests, the ministry said.

The move seeks to restore relations to how they were before a diplomatic rift, in which Riyadh felt that Ottawa was interfering in the Kingdom’s internal affairs, damaged ties between the nations in 2018.

The Canadian foreign ministry said that Jean-Philippe Linteau would be the new ambassador to the Kingdom. Linteau was most recently the consul general of Canada in Dubai.

The Saudi foreign ministry statement did not mention who the Kingdom’s ambassador to Ottawa would be.

The spat led to Riyadh recalling its ambassador and expelling Ottawa’s envoy to the Kingdom. Additionally, Saudi Arabia froze new investment in Canada, halted a scholarship program to the North American country, and ended all flights to Canada by national carrier Saudia.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that he was pleased to see the countries restore diplomatic relations and congratulated Linteau on his appointment.

“The Kingdom is a longtime regional partner, one with whom we share many interests,” Harper tweeted.

Dennis Horak, who was the Canadian ambassador expelled from Riyadh in 2018, said that the Kingdom was an important regional player.

“I think having full diplomatic relations with them allows us to have our voices heard at senior levels, which in Saudi Arabia is what matters,” he told the CBC.

Horak also said that the language of the Global Affairs Canada tweet that sparked the diplomatic fallout was “harsher than I would have liked.”

Source: arabnews.com

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Southeast Asia

 

Japan home to a growing Muslim presence as it embraces change

May 25, 2023

Japan is not only a land of temples and shrines ... but also mosques. The latter is due to a sharp rise in marriages between Muslims and Japanese citizens and Japanese converts over two decades that has seen a seven-fold increase in the number of mosques.

Hirofumi Tanada, professor emeritus of sociology at Waseda University in Tokyo, reckons that Japan is now home to more than 200,000 Muslims.

A study by Tanada and his colleagues showed there were 113 mosques across Japan in March 2021, up from only 15 in 1999.

The figure is based on government statistics, percentages of Muslims in the population by country and membership figures of the Association for Islamic Studies in Japan.

Their study showed that around 230,000 Muslims called Japan home as of the end of 2020.

Of that number, Japanese nationals and those who had obtained permanent resident status through marriage and other circumstances accounted for about 47,000, more than double the estimate of 10,000 to 20,000 a decade earlier.

“Many of them became Muslims through marriage,” Tanada said. “A growing number are also likely joining the faith of their own volition.”

Mosques were once a rare sight in Japan, but no longer.

The latest, Masjid Istiqlal Osaka, opened in Osaka’s Nishinari Ward last year. It is housed in a former factory building. The expenses for the renovation work were covered mostly by donations from Indonesians. Indonesia boasts the world’s biggest Muslim population.

Plenty of Japanese use the mosque to pray, officials said.

“We hope to make this mosque a place that all Muslims feel free to visit,” said Herizal Adhardi, a 46-year-old Indonesian who heads the entity that operates Masjid Istiqlal Osaka.

“We Japanese were previously unfamiliar with Muslims,” said Hirofumi Okai, an associate professor of sociology at Kyoto Sangyo University who studies Islamic culture. “Now that they are our neighbors, we need to think about how to live with them in this diversifying society.”

(This article was written by Tetsuaki Otaki and Rikako Takai.)

Source: asahi.com

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https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14903765

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At Conference Of Ulama, PM Anwar Says Putrajaya's 'Allah' Resolution Based On Consensus

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

Thursday, 25 May 2023

SHAH ALAM, May 25 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today his government's resolution to allow some flexibility for Borneon Christians to use the term “Allah” in certain publications was based on a consensus reached by all religious authorities, including state muftis.

Anwar was responding to concerns about the politically-charged debacle at an international conference attended by some of the world's prominent ulamas here, where the prime minister took a few minutes to explain the government's decision to withdraw the appeal against the court ruling that declared the Home Ministry's ban for Christians in the eastern states to be illegal.

He suggested the flexibility afforded to the Christians in the Eastern Malaysian states is meant to foster peace, citing the decision by the Conference of Rulers and Muftis made in 1986.

“I understand the debate around the issue has dragged on but I must stress that (our decision) had been referred to (several) muftis and they have decided, the Conference of Malay Rulers had decided, so we decided we should follow so we can have peace and avoid strife,” he said.

Each of the country's 14 states has autonomy over Islamic affairs with its respective Rulers as the supreme authority.

Over the weekend, Anwar said insisting to appeal in the “Allah” court dispute with a Sarawakian Christian would have been futile after a 1986 Cabinet and the Conference of Rulers had decided that non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak could use the word under certain conditions.

The Anwar-led unity government has been on the defensive since the withdrawal was announced last month, as the ultra-Malay Opposition coalition, led by PAS, has used the issue to ramp up its attacks in an attempt to portray the current administration as liberalists who are “anti-Islam” ahead of a crucial local election in six states.

Three of the states — Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan — are governed by Pakatan Harapan, the political coalition Anwar leads.

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/05/25/at-conference-of-ulamas-pm-anwar-says-putrajayas-allah-resolution-based-on-consensus/70912

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DAP’s Aziz Bari slams Takiyuddin for making him a scapegoat in Jill Ireland’s case

By John Bunyan

Thursday, 25 May 2023

IPOH, May 25 ― DAP’s Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Abdul Aziz Bari said that he did not represent the Muslim or the Malay community when submitting the affidavit in the Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s case as accused by Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.

Abdul Aziz said that he prepared and submitted the affidavit based on the Constitution’s content after it was requested by Jill Ireland’s lawyer for his constitutional view on the case.

“I want to respond to a video of a press conference which has made me and a few friends of mine as a black sheep in the Jill Ireland’s case.

“The decision in the Jill Ireland’s case was made by the High Court, so I don’t know why I’m being targeted by the PAS secretary-general (Takiyuddin),” he told a press conference at the Perak Darul Ridzuan Building here.

He also asked why Takiyuddin did not criticise the High Court Judge’s decision in the Jill Ireland’s case instead of targeting DAP, which he said is irrelevant in the case.

“I gave the affidavit based on my personal view and did not involve DAP,” he said.

Abdul Aziz, who is known as a constitutional expert, said that his view in the Jill Ireland’s case was in the context of right for the freedom of religion.

“I was made to understand that the Bible possessed by Jill Ireland, which has the word “Allah” was for her personal use and for the Christians in Sarawak and was not to propagate Christianity.

“According to the Constitution, we can’t refrain someone from practicing their religion. It is their wish on how they want to address their God, who are we to tell them how to call their God. That is the issue here,” he said.

Recently, Takiyuddin accused Abdul Aziz of filing an affidavit, supposedly representing the whole Malay community in Malaysia, to support the Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s application.

Takiyuddin said DAP Bangi MP Syahredzan Johan and Election Commission deputy director Azmi Sharom also filed similar affidavits to support the Jill Ireland case.

“Many things can be questioned in this affidavits, are all three individuals who filed this affidavit supporting the Jill Ireland application superseded the State Islamic Religious Council authorities?

“It was also said that the application was submitted after considering the decree by Sultan of Johor and Sultan of Selangor. Was this matter referred? These are things we question on this case,” he was heard talking in an one minute video that went viral in social media.

On May 15, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s government confirmed it had withdrawn its appeal against the 2021 High Court ruling in favour of the Sarawakian native, Jill Ireland.

The move put an end to the 15-year-long legal saga that began when the government seized the Sarawak Bumiputera’s eight educational CDs containing the word “Allah”, the Arabic word for God, which were for her own use.

On May 18, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution said that Putrajaya withdrawal of an appeal in Jill Ireland’s case was meant to give the government time to “study” a 1986 directive that banned Christians from using the term “Allah” alongside three other words.

Saifuddin said that the entire legal dispute was never about who gets the exclusive right to use the word “Allah”, an Arabic term for “God” used widely by Christians in other countries including the Middle East.

Instead, the legal battle was centred on what he described as the contradictory directive issued by the Cabinet and Home Ministry respectively in May and December 1986.

On May 23, Anwar pledged that the government will amend and revoke all laws that are in conflict with a Rulers Council's decision that the word “Allah” can only be used by Muslims in Peninsular Malaysia, and with restrictions for non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak.

Anwar said this was to ensure that the issue may no longer be contested in any courts, after the 2021 landmark decision in the Jill Ireland case where Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Nor Bee Ariffin ruled the government had erred in issuing the 1986 ban on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

Anwar also announced that the government will present a proposal to the Conference of Rulers in July on the usage of “Allah” for non-Muslims in the country.

Previously, Anwar said that persisting with the appeal in the “Allah” court dispute with a Sarawakian Christian would have been futile after a 1986 Cabinet and the Conference of Rulers had decided that non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak could use the word under certain conditions.

Source: malaymail.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/05/25/daps-aziz-bari-slams-takiyuddin-for-making-him-a-scapegoat-in-jill-irelands-case/70884

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Sultan Ibrahim: Assess carefully implications of decision relating to ‘Allah’ issue

24-05- 2023

JOHOR BAHRU: Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar today said that the federal government should carefully assess the implications of its recent decision to withdraw the appeal in the court case relating to the use of the word ‘Allah’.

In a statement posted on His Majesty’s Facebook page today, Sultan Ibrahim said this is because the decision was closely related to issues within the boundaries of Islam and the sentiments of Muslims in the country.

“The regulation, control, enforcement and standardisation relating to the word of ‘Allah’ needs to be detailed without jeopardising the fatwa (edict) and state enactments so that harmony and unity in our multi-racial society are maintained.

“I remain of the opinion that the publication, printing, broadcasting and distribution of any material that misleads the people, especially Muslims, will not be allowed in Johor in line with the position of Islam in the Johor State Constitution 1895.

“In Johor, the fatwa gazetted on June 4, 2009, clearly stated that the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims is not required, not permitted but prohibited and forbidden,” His Majesty said.

Apart from that, Sultan Ibrahim said Johor also has the Control and Restriction of the Propagation of Non-Islamic Religious Enactment 1991 which prohibits the use of words that are reserved exclusively for Muslims and cannot be used by non-Muslims except in circumstances permitted by law, such as in the Johor state anthem. – Bernama

Source: thesundaily.my

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https://www.thesundaily.my/local/sultan-ibrahim-assess-carefully-implications-of-decision-relating-to-allah-issue-KB11019560

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South Aisa

 

No Discrimination Allowed in the Islamic System: Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

2023-05-24

KABUL (BNA) The Deputy Prime Minister for Administrative Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mawlavi Abdul Salam Hanafi, met with several Shia elders, influential figures, and scholars, his office said in a statement Wednesday.

In the meeting, Deputy PM Hanafi said that there is no ethnic and zonal discrimination in the Islamic system and unity and sympathy between the followers of the religions and sects of the Afghan nation is unique in our homeland and the enemies of the Afghan nation are striving to create gaps among the Afghan nation through fueling insecurity, but the officials of the Islamic Emirate with the help of Allah Almighty and the cooperation of the nation will not allow anyone to do such things in the future, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Akbari spoke on behalf of others and said that the elders, influential figures, and scholars of Shia we a gd partners with the previous government, and now, they are ready with complete determination and honesty to cooperate with the IEA on any ground, the statement added.

“The Shiite people have been treated well and provided with trade facilities and complete security in the country,” the statement quoted Akbari as saying, adding that he has shared the IEA’s achievements and good interaction with Afghans, in a conference which had been held outside the country.

In the end, Deputy PM Hanafi said that Afghanistan is a joint home for every Afghan and the IEA is making efforts to identify and address all challenges facing Afghans, as well as asked Shia scholars and elders to cooperate with Islamic Emirate officials to provide better security and play their positive role in the development of the country.

Source: bakhtarnews.af

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https://bakhtarnews.af/en/no-discrimination-allowed-in-the-islamic-system-hanafi/

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Bangladesh PMSheikh HasinaSays Next National Polls Will Be Free, Fair Under Her Govt

25 May 2023

DOHA, (QATAR), May 24, 2023 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the next general election in Bangladesh will be held in a free and fair manner upholding democracy and voting rights of the people.

"So, under our government, definitely election will be free and fair," she told a session titled "In conversation with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina" at the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF) at the Raffles Hotel here.

Haslinda Amin, host and Editor at-large of QEF anchored the session in a jam-packed audience hall room at the venue.

Sheikh Hasina said, "So, I'm here to ensure our people's voting right?"

"People should decide who will run the country. It is people's power. So, I want to ensure people's power," she said.

She continued: "I'm here for not grabbing power, rather I want to empower the people to have their right so they can choose their government."

Mentioning about some parties' unwillingness to participate in polls, the premier said: "How they can participate because during their time, the country suffered a lot... "Our people suffered and at that time (during the regime of BNP) the terror activities increased, everywhere there was corruption, nepotism, exploitation. They never bother for people."

"It was very difficult for our people to get one meal in a day. That was their situation," she added.

Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Awami League, said that when her party came back to power, they ensured everything for people. "So, now election, it is people's right. . . ."

"Now, people understand. If they vote for us, I will be here...," she said.

The premier said "Just think about the US president election, Mr. Trump still didn't accept the result. What they can say now?"

She said that they've already asked everybody, whoever wants to send (observers) - "If they want to send observer, they can do it."

"So, I can tell you that I am here to ensure my people's democratic rights, voting rights. And it is our struggle," she added.

Without mentioning the name of BNP, the Prime Minister told Haslinda Amin, in replying to her query, that the party was constituted by a military ruler.

"That party or the war criminal party or the killers of our parents may not feel comfortable. . . but, other people, many other parties are there and they will participate in the election?"

"So I don't understand why there is this question time and again," she added.

In 1975, when her father was assassinated, the military dictator took all power, she said, adding that they jeopardized all electronic process.

Sheikh Hasina said in 1981 her party - Bangladesh Awami League - elected her as the president of the party in her absence and "since then we started struggling for democracy, for people's voting right, that means where they should have right to exercise their adult franchise."

Replying to another query regarding IMF loan, the Prime Minister said that Bangladesh's economy is growing smoothly.

"It's not that our economy is suffering. . . it is only because we want that just to give a cushion to our economy," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said IMF only gives loan to the country which can repay their bill.

"They (IMF) first think that whom they're giving loan, whether they can pay it back or not. . ," she said, adding that Bangladesh is in a position that it has the ability to repay the loan.

Regarding the price hike of energy and power, the premier said that the price hike is affecting every country, not only Bangladesh. "We are looking for alternatives like renewable energy, solar panel and others to continue our progress."

Haslinda Amin said countries like India have been seeking oil from Russia at a much cheaper price. She questioned if Russia is a possible supplier for them.

Replying to her, Sheikh Hasina said, "From Russia, we never bought oil. . . wherever it is available and definitely, we will avail that, why not?"

In this regard, she said, "Our foreign policy is very clear. I just want to tell the audience that Bangladesh follows - friendship to all, malice to none."

"Another thing I should mention that country to country may have conflict, but we never poke our nose to that. We'll never play a partisan role," she said.

"We need to develop our country. We need to fulfill our people's demand. We need to develop the country so that our people get a better life, a developed life," she added.

Source: bssnews.net

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https://www.bssnews.net/news/pm/127175

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‘Taliban Have to Earn Legitimacy’ for Intl Recognition: Miller

25-05-23

The US Department of State’s spokesman Matthew Miller said that Washington understands that the “Taliban continues to seek international recognition, but to get international recognition they have to earn legitimacy.”

Miller made the remarks at a press conference in Washington D.C. 

“So I will say with respect to tensions between Iran and Afghanistan, I don’t have any specific comment other than that, obviously, we would be concerned about any increased tensions in the region. With respect to the Taliban, I will just reiterate what we have said for some time and that we encourage the Taliban to stop its crackdown on human rights, to stop its repression of women,” he said. “We understand that the Taliban continues to seek international recognition, but to get international recognition they have to earn legitimacy. And that is very difficult to achieve as long as they continue to suppress their own people, and especially as they continue these horrific attacks on women inside the country.”

But the Islamic Emirate downplayed the US’s concerns about the human rights situation in Afghanistan, saying that human rights are preserved even better than before. 

“The Islamic Emirate wants good relations with all of the countries and wants official relations with the countries but on condition that our national interests are not violated for these relations,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate. 

To consider the recognition of the Islamic Emirate, the international community, including the US, made the formation of an inclusive government and upholding human rights as preconditions. 

“The formation of an inclusive government, ensuring of freedom of speech and the rights of minorities and rights of women are part of the international norms that need to acknowledged,” said Sayed Noorullah Raghi, an international relations analyst. 

“The people of Afghanistan at least see themselves in the government and the women should not be eliminated completely from the full presence of women,” said Sayed Jawad Sijadi, a university instructor.

The Islamic Emirate came to power nearly two years ago, but its government has yet to be recognized by world country. 

Source: tolonews.com

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https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-183502

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President, PM pay tributes to poet Nazrul on birth anniversary

24 May 2023

DHAKA, May 24, 2023 (BSS) - President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today paid rich tributes to the memories of National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam on his 124th birth anniversary to be observed tomorrow.

In separate messages, they prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul of the poet.

In his message, President Mohammed Shahabuddin said: "On the occasion of the 124th birth anniversary of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, I remember this short-lived poet with utmost respect."

The head of the state said the poet's fiery writings speak out for the rights of the exploited and deprived people and teach them to protest against injustice.

The songs and poems of the poet had greatly inspired the freedom-loving people during the War of Liberation, Shahabuddin said.

From his writings, people have been inspired in every democratic movement including anti-British movement, language movement, mass upsurge of 1969 and the Liberation War, he added.

The president hoped that the new generation will be able to enrich themselves by following the lifestyle of Nazrul and devote themselves to build a happy-prosperous Bangladesh with patriotism, honesty and devotion.

"I pray for the eternal peace of the departed soul of this poet," he continued.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said Poet Nazrul has enriched the literature, music and culture of the country through his writings.

She said Nazrul was the first Bengali poet who demanded complete independence of India from British rule.

In his literary works, the message of struggle against subjugation, communalism and imperialism has been uttered, the premier said, adding that possessing an extraordinary and versatile talent, Nazrul was a symbol of secularism and nationalism.

The greatest Bangalee of all time, the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was devoted to poet Nazrul, she said.

In the post-independence period, the poet was brought from Kolkata to Bangladesh with the honor of National Poet as per the desire of Bangabandhu, she added.

"Poet Nazrul dreamt of establishing a non-communal, discrimination-free, exploitation-free and peaceful society and we find that reflection in the struggle and actions of the father of the nation," the premier said.

She believed Nazrul's work will play a role in building a non-communal, non-discrimination, peaceful, happy-prosperous and modern Bangladesh by removing all evil obstacles from the people's mindset.

She thought poet Nazrul's struggling life and his immortal works will be a source of endless inspiration for the Bangalee nation.

The president and the premier wished the overall success of all the programmes taken on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the national poet.

Source: bssnews.net

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https://www.bssnews.net/news/127192

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EU Delivers 100 Tons Of Medical Supplies To Afghanistan

May 24, 2023

Raffaella Lodice, the deputy political representative of the European Union for Afghanistan, tweeted on Wednesday that nearly 100 tons of medicine and medical supplies were delivered to Kabul, Afghanistan.

“Close to 100 tons of medicines and medical items safely arrived in Afghanistan via the EU’s humanitarian Air Bride,” Lodice tweeted.

She also emphasized that the EU is committed to stand by the people of Afghanistan.

“These cargo flights are a truly visible example of our humanitarian assistance to the country. The EU continued to stand by the people of Afghanistan,” she added.

This is the 28th air bridge humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of Power in August 2021.

Meanwhile, the European Union said, “With this 28th air bridge operation from Afghanistan since 2021, we reconfirm our commitment to helping Afghans in need.”

These medical supplies come at a critical time when most people need life-saving medicine and medical equipment amid a dire humanitarian crisis in the country.

Source: khaama.com

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https://www.khaama.com/eu-delivers-100-tons-of-medical-supplies-to-afghanistan/

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Afghanistan document shows Biden ‘didn’t heed’ warnings ahead of withdrawal, Rep. McCaul says

May 24, 2023

President Biden's administration failed to heed certain warnings from U.S. officials on the ground in Afghanistan prior to the president's withdrawal operation in 2021, a top House Republican says.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, viewed a State Department document detailing the concerns diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul had at the time of the withdrawal. McCaul worked for months to access the document, known as a dissent cable, through subpoenas and a threat of contempt charges before viewing the document himself on Tuesday.

"The dissenters were absolutely right about everything they said, and it was a warning to the administration about what was going to happen and what they needed to do," McCaul told Punchbowl News in an interview, adding that the dissenters "deserve a medal."

"Unfortunately, the administration didn’t heed all their warnings and we got what we got," he added.

McCaul viewed a version of the document that had the names of the dissenters redacted. Only he and Rep. Greg Meeks, D-N.Y., the ranking member of the committee, were permitted to view the document.

Meeks argued the document revealed no new information, however, it "puts to rest this whole thing about having a subpoena and the president is hiding something or whatever it is."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had for months stonewalled McCaul's attempts to access the document, ignoring multiple subpoena deadlines and offering half measures such as a briefing on the document's content rather than a look at the document itself.

McCaul did not make any progress until earlier in May when he threatened to hold Blinken in contempt of Congress for blocking access. Even so, only he and Meeks were allowed to view the document Tuesday, despite McCaul's wish for every member of the Foreign Affairs Committee to gain access.

It is unclear whether McCaul will continue to push for other members' access after viewing the document itself. McCaul had initially threatened to go into the criminal contempt process on Wednesday. His office clarified that next steps have yet to be set in stone.

"I am thankful to Secretary Blinken for allowing myself and Ranking Member Meeks to view the dissent channel cable – an unprecedented occurrence. However, every member on our committee should be granted this same access," he said in a Wednesday statement. "Although I cannot discuss the classified information in the cable, I can say the dissenters were right – and the administration should have listened. I am going to speak with Ranking Member Meeks and my Republican and Democrat colleagues on the committee to discuss our next course of action if the State Department continues to block all committee members from seeing this cable as the subpoena requested."

Source: foxnews.com

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https://www.foxnews.com/politics/afghanistan-document-shows-biden-didnt-heed-warnings-withdrawal-rep-mccaul-says

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Africa

 

“I Have Forgiven President Muhammadu Buhari” – Ortom Declares, Urges Others to Do the Same

May 24, 2023

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has announced that he has forgiven President Muhammadu Buhari for the criticisms directed at his administration.

POLITICS NIGERIA reports that the governor made this declaration during an interview on Arise Television’s ‘The Morning Show’.

Ortom expressed his displeasure with the presidency’s attempts to blame his government for the ongoing violence in the state. He dismissed these efforts as futile attempts to distort the truth and manipulate history.

It is worth noting that President Buhari had earlier apologised to Nigerians who were dissatisfied with his administration and called for their forgiveness.

Governor Ortom, citing the teachings of the Christian Holy Book, stated that he has chosen to forgive President Buhari.

He emphasised the importance of forgiveness, as failing to forgive would mean that God would not forgive as well. The governor, a devout Christian, affirmed his decision to extend forgiveness to the President.

He said, “When you don’t forgive, it means God too will not forgive. Me, as a student of the Bible and as a born-again Christian, I have forgiven President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Furthermore, Governor Ortom expressed optimism regarding the incoming administration led by President-elect Bola Tinubu.

He expressed hope for improved performance, urging the new administration to prioritise the well-being of the people and provide support, security, economic development, and peace.

While sharing his thoughts, Governor Ortom advised President Buhari not to leave Nigeria but instead remain in the country to collaborate with the Tinubu administration.

He believed that by working together, they could uplift both the state and the nation from their current challenges to greater heights.

“He doesn’t need to go to the Niger Republic. He should stay here (in Nigeria) with us. All of us should work with the incoming administration, and by the grace of God, we shall go from bottom to top,” Governor Ortom emphasised.

Source: politicsnigeria.com

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https://politicsnigeria.com/i-have-forgiven-president-muhammadu-buhari-ortom-declares-urges-others-to-do-the-same/

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Presidential inauguration: No cows will  ”loiter” streets of Abuja – Miyetti Allah pledges

May 24, 2023

By Abigael Joshua

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the FCT has promised that no cow will be seen loitering the streets of Abuja, during the Presidential inauguration on May 29.

This is contained in a statement issued by Mrs Janet Peni, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) Deputy Director information on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Chairman of MACBAN, FCT chapter, Alhaji Usman Muhammad said “we will help to ensure that no cow is seen loitering the citycentre before the big day.

“It is our culture to receive a visitor in a very clean and tidy environment and in this case, the in-coming Government is the visitor.

“We promise to clear and clean the city for a government that we elected,”.

Muhammad said the meeting is not only timely but it is strategic because it provided the opportunity for their concerns to be brought to the attention of the FCT Minister Malam Muhammad Bello.

He recalled that they held a meeting with the FCT Minister and some investors from Dubai, that showed interest on investing in improved cattle rearing in the FCT for greater profit.

According to him, this portends potential for generating revenues for both the FCT Administration and the local cattle rearers and also to introduce herders to modern methods of cattle rearing.

He expressed optimism to get a feedback from the FCT Administration on the way forward.

The chairman appealed to the incoming government to come to their aid, as cattle rustling remains a big threat, stating that over 300 cows were stolen from his blood brother recently.

Also speaking, Alhaji Adamu Rabo, chairman of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) branch of the association promised to immediately take the message to every herder in his domain on the need to cooperate with the Government to ensure that the inauguration is peacefully and successfully done, in a tidy and neat environment.

He assured that a message would be convened to herders not to allow their cows graze on the streets of FCT.

Rabo appealed to the FCT minister to urgently provide grazing areas to herders in the FCT where they can immediately relocate their cows to, for a lasting solution.

In his opening remarks, Director AEPB, Mr Osi Braimah, stated that the meeting was meant to rob minds with leaders of Miyetti Allah cattle breeders association, FCT Chapter on finding a lasting solution to the intractable problem of cattle grazing in the FCT.

“As we all know that cattle grazing in the FCT is against the law, and in a bid to resolve the problem, quarterly meetings are held to address the matter.

“It is more pressing now, because soonest the entire world will be focused on not just Nigeria, but on Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, the venue of the inauguration of Nigeria’s President-elect.

“The inauguration which will host over 47 Presidents and heads of states and other important dignitaries across the globe, hence the need to keep the city very clean and to ensure that no cow is seen grazing in the FCT and its environs,” Braimah noted.

He said that they have all arrived at a resolution and gotten the assurances of both the chairman of the FCT chapter and the chairman of AMAC branch of the association not to loiter the FCT with cows.

He also warned that any herder seen flouting the law would be arrested with their cattle by a combined team of AEPB enforcement officers and law enforcement agencies like the Police and the rest, already on ground.

The AEPB director revealed that AEPB is doing its best to keep the city very clean in preparation for the inauguration and beyond, keeping to the very high standards it has set for itself and justifying the tremendous support given to it by the FCT Minister. (NAN)

Source: newsdiaryonline.com

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https://newsdiaryonline.com/presidential-inauguration-no-cows-will-loiter-streets-of-abuja-miyetti-allah-pledges/

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Muslim-Muslim Ticket: APC asked to pick Christian Senate president from South

MAY 24, 2023

The senator-elect for Lagos Central, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, has advised the APC leadership to balance the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the executive arm of the incoming administration with a Christian as Senate president from the South-South or South-East.

Mr Eshinlokun-Sanni, currently the deputy speaker of the Lagos assembly, made the call during an award presentation ceremony held in his office at the assembly complex, Lagos.

Mr Eshinlokun-Sanni said the APC leadership should also consider the three Senate presidential aspirants based on their contributions to the party’s electoral success in the last election.

“For the 10th Assembly, I believe the party should play a prominent role. There are so many factors that must be considered,” said the senator-elect. “He or she (running for the Senate president) must come from the South and be a Christian so that the noise about Muslim-Muslim tickets must be nipped in the bud.”

According to him, senators Godswill Akpabio, Orji Uzor Kalu and Osita Izunazo are most qualified for the position.

“So we have to consider the aspirants based on the contributions of each region to the electoral success of the party in the last election,” Mr Eshinlokun-Sanni explained.

Source: gazettengr.com

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https://gazettengr.com/muslim-muslim-ticket-apc-asked-to-pick-christian-senate-president-from-south/

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Buhari appointing me, others as minister of state unconstitutional: Keyamo

MAY 24, 2023

A HEART FULL OF UNQUANTIFIABLE GRATITUDE TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR, AND RECOMMENDATION TO ADDRESS THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONUNDRUM OF “MINISTER OF STATE”

BEING VALEDICTORY SPEECH BY FESTUS KEYAMO, SAN AS MINISTER OF STATE FOR LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT AT THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS, PRESIDENTIAL VILLA, ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 2023.

Mr. President, you first appointed me as Minister of State in the Ministry Niger Delta Affairs in August, 2019 and you later redeployed me as Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

Today, I cannot find the words to express the depth of my gratitude to you for finding me worthy, out of over two hundred million Nigerians, to be nominated and subsequently appointed to serve as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. My curriculum vitae has been greatly enhanced – forever.

From my very humble beginnings in a small dusty town in Delta State where I was born and raised by my struggling parents, all the way to the Council Chambers at the Presidential Villa where I had the honour and privilege to participate weekly in decision-making for my country in the last four years, it has been like a fairy tale. I give God all the glory.

What I am about to say, therefore, is not and should not be construed as an indication of ingratitude. Far from it. What I am about to say is just my own little contribution to our constitutional development as a relatively young democracy and to aid future governments to optimize the performance of those they appoint as Ministers.

Mr. President, the concept or designation of “Minister of State” is a constitutional aberration and is practically not working for many so appointed. Successive governments have come and gone and many who were appointed as Ministers of State have not spoken out at a forum such as this because of the risk of sounding ungrateful to the Presidents who appointed them. However, like I said earlier, this is not ingratitude.

As a private citizen, I am on record to have gone to court a number of times to challenge unconstitutional acts of governments for the sake of advancing our constitutional democracy, so it will be out of character for me to have gone through government and be carried away by the pomp of public office and forget my role as a member of the Inner Bar and my self-imposed role over the years as a crusader for democracy and constitutionalism.

Mr. President, I crave your indulgence to explain this constitutional conundrum of “Minister of State”. Sections 147 and 148 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), deal with the appointments and responsibilities of Ministers of the Federation. The said sections state as follows:

Section 147

“(1) There shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.

(2) Any appointment to the office of Minister of the Government of the Federation shall, if the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate, be made by the President.

(3) Any appointment under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of section 14(3) of this Constitution:- provided that in giving effect to the provisions aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each State, who shall be an indigene of such State.”

Section 148

“(1) The President may, in his discretion, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government.”

Furthermore, the 7th Schedule to the 1999 Constitution provides for the Oath of Office to which each Minister must subscribe. There are no different Oaths for “Minister” and “Ministers of State”. They all take the same Oath of Office.

In addition to the above, the Ministers-designate appear before the Senate and are grilled and cleared AS MINISTERS, not as Ministers in some instances and Ministers of State in some other instances. It is at the point of assignment of portfolios that successive Presidents then reclassified some as “Ministers of State”.

Some may want to justify this by saying the President is given the discretion by the Constitution to assign whatever responsibility(ies) he likes to Ministers. Yes, I concede Mr. President can do that, but not by a designation different from that prescribed by the Constitution. Simply put, it is akin to the President assigning responsibilities to the office of the Vice-President and re-designating that office as “Deputy President” under our present Constitution. That is clearly impossible. Why then should that of the Ministers be different?

What is more, Ministers are appointed pursuant to Section 147(3) of the 1999 Constitution to represent each State of the Federation. Therefore, Ministers sit in Cabinet as the eye of Mr. President in each State of the Federation. It is therefore against the intendment of the drafters of our Constitution for a representative of a State to be reclassified as against another representative of another State.

The Schedules of Duties of Ministers and Ministers of State that intend to cure some of these anomalies hardly help the issues. Firstly, the Schedules of Duties are observed more in breach by the Permanent Secretaries and Directors who really cannot be expected to serve two masters. And in any case, many of the roles of both Ministers are so ambiguous that the bureaucrats would always interpret them to satisfy the ones they see as the “Senior Ministers” or “main Ministers” for fear of being persecuted by them.

Secondly, parts of the Schedules of Duties seem to suggest that the Ministers can delegate functions to the Ministers of State. This is a constitutional impossibility. It is only Mr. President that can delegate Presidential powers as one cannot delegate what he does not have (delegatus non potest delegare). In any case, how can someone who took the same Oath of Office with another delegate functions to that other?

Thirdly, the Schedules of Duties leave so many gaping holes that bring conflicts between the Ministers and Ministers of State. In addition, the provision that “Ministers of State” cannot present Memos in Council, except with the permission of the Minister, is another anomaly. It means the discretion of the Minister of State is subsumed in the discretion of the Minister, yet both of them represent different States in Cabinet.

It also follows that it would be difficult to assess the individual performances of the Ministers of State since their discretion is shackled under the discretion of the Ministers. Original ideas developed by a Minister of State are subject to clearance by another colleague in Cabinet before they can sail through for consideration by Council. The drafters of our Constitution obviously did not intend this.

As a result, many Ministers of State are largely redundant, with many going to the office for symbolic purpose and just to while away the time. Files are passed to them to treat only at the discretion of the other Minister and the Permanent Secretary. Yet, the Ministers of State will receive either praise or condemnation for the successes or failures of such Ministries.

I understand that when this practice first surfaced in the First Republic, it was used as a contraption to give a semblance of “Government of National Unity”, when in actual fact no “real power” was ceded to the opposition members co-opted into government who were mostly designated as the Ministers of State, so as to keep them in check under the leadership of the ruling Party’s Ministers. But, over time the custom has come to stay and now it has been established as a norm, even regarding Ministers from the same ruling Party. In fact, one political absurdity that has emerged from this is that some Ministers of State won more votes from their States for the party in power than the “main Minister”.

THE WAY FORWARD

Many Ministerial Retreats have been held to try and resolve the issues between Ministers and Ministers of State. President Obasanjo held four of such Retreats, with the last one holding at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, from 23rd to 25th February, 2001. Yet, the problems persisted.

Mr. President, unknown to many successive Presidents and the general public, these conflicts gravely affect the optimal performance of Governments. What is the way forward?

Obviously, the argument that two Ministers are cramped into some Ministries in order not to unnecessarily proliferate Ministries and therefore save Government’s money is no longer tenable. This is because Government does not need any extra infrastructure or more money to maintain all Senior 36 Ministers or even a bit more appointed as is now the custom. This is because the present Ministers and Ministers of State have their separate offices, cars, security personnel and personal aides. So, what is the point?

There are enough Permanent Secretaries within the system to be assigned to each Minister, or in the least, one Permanent Secretary can serve two Ministers. Since the Schedules of Duties of both Ministers already reflect the broad Mandates of the Ministries, the Ministers can be named in line with those Schedules of Duties, instead of continuing with this unconstitutional arrangement. For instance, there is no reason why we cannot have a Minister of Labour and another Minister of Employment.

In my case, whilst the Schedule of my colleague had to do more with Labour and Productivity, mine had to do more with Employment. The Directorates in my Ministry that were under my office would then be fully under the Minister of Employment, without any double loyalty to the Minister of Labour and Productivity.

We can also have a Minister of Trade and another Minister of Investment. We can have a Minister of Education (Tertiary) and another Minister of Education (Primary and Secondary); we can have a Minister of Mines and another Minister of Steel; we can have a Minister of Works and another Minister of Housing and so on and so forth.

In all of these, no extra infrastructure is needed to sustain this suggested arrangement. The present infrastructure and present personnel in the Ministries can very well sustain it. It will be at no extra cost to government. This is preferable than successive governments continuing with this present unconstitutional arrangement.

Finally, I want to place it on record again that Mr. Present gave me maximum support as his Minister to function optimally. So, this treatise is not a personal complaint. This is just a respectful recommendation for record purposes and for the sake of posterity. It is also intended to correct an anomaly that has existed for ages.

Source: gazettengr.com

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https://gazettengr.com/buhari-appointing-me-others-as-minister-of-state-unconstitutional-keyamo/

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